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Dysfunction of delayed rectifier potassium channels in an inherited cardiac arrhythmia.

M C Sanguinetti

Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci., 1999 Apr 30 , 868, 406-13

The rapid (IKr) and slow (IKs) delayed rectifier K+ currents are key regulators of cardiac repolarization. HERG encodes the Kr channel, and KVLQT1 and hminK encode subunits that coassemble to form Ks channels. Mutations in any one of these genes cause Romano-Ward syndrome, an autosomal dominant form of long QT syndrome (LQT). Mutations in KVLQT1 and HERG are the most common cause of LQT. Not all missense mutations of HERG or KVLQT1 have the same effect on K+ channel function. Most mutations result in a dominant-negative effect, but the severity of the resulting phenotype varies widely, as judged by reduction of current induced by coexpression of wild-type and mutant subunits in heterologous expression systems. Mutations in hminK (S74L, D76N) reduce IKs by shifting the voltage dependence of activation and accelerating channel deactivation. A recessive form of LQT is caused by mutations in either KVLQT1 or hminK. The functional consequences of mutations in delayed rectifier K+ channel subunits are delayed cardiac repolarization, lengthened QT interval, and an increased risk of torsade de pointes and sudden death.