Background: Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of postneonatal mortality in the United States. Mutations in the RyR2-encoded cardiac ryanodine receptor cause the highly lethal catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT1) in the young. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the spectrum and prevalence of RyR2 mutations in a large cohort of SIDS cases. Methods: Using polymerase chain reaction, denaturing high performance liquid chromatography, and direct DNA sequencing, a targeted mutational analysis of RyR2 was performed on genomic DNA isolated from frozen necropsy tissue on 134 unrelated cases of SIDS (57 females, 77 males; 83 white, 50 black, 1 Hispanic; average age = 2.7 months). RyR2 mutations were engineered by site-directed mutagenesis, heterologously expressed in HEK293 cells, and functionally characterized using single-channel recordings in planar lipid bilayers. Results: Overall, two distinct and novel RyR2 mutations were identified in two cases of SIDS. A 6-month-old black female hosted an R2267H missense mutation, and a 4-week-old white female infant harbored a S4565R mutation. Both nonconservative amino acid substitutions were absent in 400 reference alleles, involved conserved residues, and were localized to key functionally significant domains. Under conditions that simulate stress [Protein Kinase A (PKA) phosphorylation] during diastole (low activating [Ca2+]), SIDS-associated RyR2 mutant channels displayed a significant gain-of-function phenotype consistent with the functional effect of previously characterized CPVT-associated RyR2 mutations. Conclusions: Here we report a novel pathogenic mechanism for SIDS, whereby SIDS-linked RyR2 mutations alter the response of the channels to sympathetic nervous system stimulation such that during stress the channels become "leaky" and thus potentially trigger fatal cardiac arrhythmias.
- Ion channels
- Sudden death
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)