Differential Expression of the β3 Subunit of Voltage-Gated Ca2+ Channel in Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Mol Neurobiol. 2023 Oct;60(10):5755-5769. doi: 10.1007/s12035-023-03426-4. Epub 2023 Jun 21.


The purpose of this study was to identify and validate new putative lead drug targets in drug-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) starting from differentially expressed genes (DEGs) previously identified in mTLE in humans by transcriptome analysis. We identified consensus DEGs among two independent mTLE transcriptome datasets and assigned them status as "lead target" if they (1) were involved in neuronal excitability, (2) were new in mTLE, and (3) were druggable. For this, we created a consensus DEG network in STRING and annotated it with information from the DISEASES database and the Target Central Resource Database (TCRD). Next, we attempted to validate lead targets using qPCR, immunohistochemistry, and Western blot on hippocampal and temporal lobe neocortical tissue from mTLE patients and non-epilepsy controls, respectively. Here we created a robust, unbiased list of 113 consensus DEGs starting from two lists of 3040 and 5523 mTLE significant DEGs, respectively, and identified five lead targets. Next, we showed that CACNB3, a voltage-gated Ca2+ channel subunit, was significantly regulated in mTLE at both mRNA and protein level. Considering the key role of Ca2+ currents in regulating neuronal excitability, this suggested a role for CACNB3 in seizure generation. This is the first time changes in CACNB3 expression have been associated with drug-resistant epilepsy in humans, and since efficient therapeutic strategies for the treatment of drug-resistant mTLE are lacking, our finding might represent a step toward designing such new treatment strategies.

Keywords: CACNB3; Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy; Target validation; Transcriptome analysis; Unbiased drug target identification; mTLE.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy* / genetics
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy* / metabolism
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe* / complications
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe* / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe* / genetics
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Seizures / metabolism
  • Temporal Lobe / metabolism