Functional Characterization of Endogenously Expressed Human RYR1 Variants

J Vis Exp. 2021 Jun 9;(172). doi: 10.3791/62196.


More than 700 variants in the RYR1 gene have been identified in patients with different neuromuscular disorders including malignant hyperthermia susceptibility, core myopathies and centronuclear myopathy. Because of the diverse phenotypes linked to RYR1 mutations it is fundamental to characterize their functional effects to classify variants carried by patients for future therapeutic interventions and identify non-pathogenic variants. Many laboratories have been interested in developing methods to functionally characterize RYR1 mutations expressed in patients' cells. This approach has numerous advantages, including: mutations are endogenously expressed, RyR1 is not over-expressed, use of heterologous RyR1 expressing cells is avoided. However, since patients may present mutations in different genes aside RYR1, it is important to compare results from biological material from individuals harboring the same mutation, with different genetic backgrounds. The present manuscript describes methods developed to study the functional effects of endogenously expressed RYR1 variants in: (a) Epstein Barr virus immortalized human B-lymphocytes and (b) satellite cells derived from muscle biopsies and differentiated into myotubes. Changes in the intracellular calcium concentration triggered by the addition of a pharmacological RyR1 activators are then monitored. The selected cell type is loaded with a ratiometric fluorescent calcium indicator and intracellular [Ca2+] changes are monitored either at the single cell level by fluorescence microscopy or in cell populations using a spectrofluorometer. The resting [Ca2+], agonist dose response curves are then compared between cells from healthy controls and patients harboring RYR1 variants leading to insight into the functional effect of a given variant.

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