Serine mutation of a conserved threonine in the hERG K+ channel S6-pore region leads to loss-of-function through trafficking impairment

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The human Ether-a-go-go Related Gene (hERG) encodes a potassium channel responsible for the cardiac rapid delayed rectifier K+ current, IKr, which regulates ventricular repolarization. Loss-of-function hERG mutations underpin the LQT2 form of congenital long QT syndrome. This study was undertaken to elucidate the functional consequences of a variant of uncertain significance, T634S, located at a highly conserved position at the top of the S6 helix of the hERG channel. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were made at 37 C of hERG current (IhERG) from HEK 293 cells expressing wild-type (WT) hERG, WTþT634S and hERG-T634S alone. When the T634S mutation was expressed alone little or no IhERG could be recorded. Co-expressing WT and hERG-T634S suppressed IhERG tails by ~57% compared to WT alone, without significant alteration of voltage dependent activation of IhERG. A similar suppression of IhERG was observed under action potential voltage clamp. Comparable reduction of IKr in a ventricular AP model delayed repolarization and led to action potential prolongation. A LI-COR® based On/In-Cell Western assay showed that cell surface expression of hERG channels in HEK 293 cells was markedly reduced by the T634S mutation, whilst total cellular hERG expression was unaffected, demonstrating impaired trafficking of the hERG-T634S mutant. Incubation with E4031, but not lumacaftor, rescued defective hERG-T634S channel trafficking and IhERG density. In conclusion, these data identify hERGT634S as a rescuable trafficking defective mutation that reduces IKr sufficiently to delay repolarization and, thereby, potentially produce a LQT2 phenotype
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1091
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
Early online date19 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2020


  • arrhythmia
  • hERG
  • IKr
  • long QT syndrome
  • LQTS
  • rapid delayed rectifier
  • trafficking


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