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Prevalence and spectrum of large deletions or duplications in the major long QT syndrome-susceptibility genes and implications for long QT syndrome genetic testing.

David J Tester, Amber J Benton, Laura Train, Barbara Deal, Linnea M Baudhuin, Michael J Ackerman

Am. J. Cardiol., 2010 Oct 15 , 106, 1124-8

Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a cardiac channelopathy associated with syncope, seizures, and sudden death. Approximately 75% of LQTS is due to mutations in genes encoding for 3 cardiac ion channel α-subunits (LQT1 to LQT3). However, traditional mutational analyses have limited detection capabilities for atypical mutations such as large gene rearrangements. We set out to determine the prevalence and spectrum of large deletions/duplications in the major LQTS-susceptibility genes in unrelated patients who were mutation negative after point mutation analysis of LQT1- to LQT12-susceptibility genes. Forty-two unrelated, clinically strong LQTS patients were analyzed using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification, a quantitative fluorescent technique for detecting multiple exon deletions and duplications. The SALSA multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification LQTS kit from MRC-Holland was used to analyze the 3 major LQTS-associated genes, KCNQ1, KCNH2, and SCN5A, and the 2 minor genes, KCNE1 and KCNE2. Overall, 2 gene rearrangements were found in 2 of 42 unrelated patients (4.8%, confidence interval 1.7 to 11). A deletion of KCNQ1 exon 3 was identified in a 10-year-old Caucasian boy with a corrected QT duration of 660 ms, a personal history of exercise-induced syncope, and a family history of syncope. A deletion of KCNQ1 exon 7 was identified in a 17-year-old Caucasian girl with a corrected QT duration of 480 ms, a personal history of exercise-induced syncope, and a family history of sudden cardiac death. In conclusion, because nearly 5% of patients with genetically elusive LQTS had large genomic rearrangements involving the canonical LQTS-susceptibility genes, reflex genetic testing to investigate genomic rearrangements may be of clinical value.