Congenital myasthenic syndrome caused by prolonged acetylcholine receptor channel openings due to a mutation in the M2 domain of the ε subunit

Kinji Ohno, David O. Hutchinson, Margherita Milone, Joan M. Brengman, Cecilia Bouzat, Steven M Sine, Andrew G Engel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

202 Scopus citations


In a congenital myasthenic syndrome with a severe endplate myopathy, patch-clamp studies revealed markedly prolonged acetylcholine receptor (AChR) channel openings. Molecular genetic analysis of AChR subunit genes demonstrated a heterozygous adenosine-to-cytosine transversion at nucleotide 790 in exon 8 of the ε-subunit gene, predicting substitution of proline for threonine at codon 264 and no other mutations in the entire coding sequences of genes encoding the α, β, δ, and ε subunits. Genetically engineered mutant AChR expressed in a human embryonic kidney fibroblast cell line also exhibited markedly prolonged openings in the presence of agonist and even opened in its absence. The Thr-264 →Pro mutation in the ε subunit involves a highly conserved residue in the M2 domain lining the channel pore and is likely to disrupt the putative M2 α-helix. Our findings indicate that a single mutation at a critical site can greatly alter AChR channel kinetics, leading to a congenital myasthenic syndrome. This observation raises the possibility that mutations involving subunits of other ligand-gated channels may also exist and be the basis of various other neurologic or psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)758-762
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 31 1995


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General

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