AIMS: Mutation type, location, dominant-negative IKs reduction, and possibly loss of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-dependent IKs stimulation via protein kinase A (PKA) influence the clinical severity of long QT syndrome type 1 (LQT1). Given the malignancy of KCNQ1-p.A341V, we assessed whether mutations neighbouring p.A341V in the S6 channel segment could also increase arrhythmic risk.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Clinical and genetic data were obtained from 1316 LQT1 patients [450 families, 166 unique KCNQ1 mutations, including 277 p.A341V-positive subjects, 139 patients with p.A341-neighbouring mutations (91 missense, 48 non-missense), and 900 other LQT1 subjects]. A first cardiac event represented the primary endpoint. S6 segment missense variant characteristics, particularly cAMP stimulation responses, were analysed by cellular electrophysiology. p.A341-neighbouring mutation carriers had a QTc shorter than p.A341V carriers (477 ± 33 vs. 490 ± 44 ms) but longer than the remaining LQT1 patient population (467 ± 41 ms) (P < 0.05 for both). Similarly, the frequency of symptomatic subjects in the p.A341-neighbouring subgroup was intermediate between the other two groups (43% vs. 73% vs. 20%; P < 0.001). These differences in clinical severity can be explained, for p.A341V vs. p.A341-neighbouring mutations, by the p.A341V-specific impairment of IKs regulation. The differences between the p.A341-neighbouring subgroup and the rest of LQT1 mutations may be explained by the functional importance of the S6 segment for channel activation.
CONCLUSION: KCNQ1 S6 segment mutations surrounding p.A341 increase arrhythmic risk. p.A341V-specific loss of PKA-dependent IKs enhancement correlates with its phenotypic severity. Cellular studies providing further insights into IKs-channel regulation and knowledge of structure-function relationships could improve risk stratification. These findings impact on clinical management.