Intersegment Contacts of Potentially Damaging Variants of Cardiac Sodium Channel

Front Pharmacol. 2021 Nov 4:12:756415. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2021.756415. eCollection 2021.


Over 1,500 missense variants of sodium channel hNav1.5, which are reported in the ClinVar database, are associated with cardiac diseases. For most of the variants, the clinical significance is uncertain (VUS), not provided (NP), or has conflicting interpretations of pathogenicity (CIP). Reclassifying these variants as pathogenic/likely pathogenic (P/LP) variants is important for diagnosing genotyped patients. In our earlier work, several bioinformatics tools and paralogue annotation method consensually predicted that 74 VUS/NP/CIP variants of 54 wild type residues (set w54) are potentially damaging variants (PDVs). Atomic mechanisms underlying dysfunction of the PDVs are unknown. Here we employed a recent cryo-EM structure of the hNav1.5 channel with likely inactivated pore domain (PD) and activated voltage-sensing domains (VSDs), and ad hoc models of the closed and open PD and resting VSDs to explore intersegment contacts of w54 residues. We found that 44 residues from set w54 contact 84 residues with 118 disease missense variants. These include 104 VUS/NP/CIP variants, most of which are associated with the loss-of-function Brugada syndrome (BrS1) or gain-of-function long QT syndrome (LQT3). Matrix representation of the PDVs and their contact variants facilitated recognition of coupled mutations associated with the same disease. In particular, BrS1-associated coupled mutations, which disturb the P-loops region with the selectivity filter slow inactivation gate, would cause the channel dysfunction. Other likely causes of the channel dysfunction include coupled BrS1-associated variants within VSDs that would destabilize their activated states and coupled LQT3-associated variants, which would stabilize the open PD or activated VSDs. Our study proposes mechanisms of channel dysfunction for scores of BrS1- and LQT3-associated variants, confirms status for 82% of PDVs, and suggests damaging status for their contact variants, which are currently categorized as VUS/NP/CIP variants.

Keywords: Brugada syndrome; Monte Carlo minimizations; cardiac arrhythmias; cryo-EM structure; homology modeling; intersegment contacts; long QT syndrome.