Long QT syndrome, a rare genetic disorder associated with life-threatening arrhythmias, has provided a wealth of information about fundamental mechanisms underlying human cardiac electrophysiology that has come about because of truly collaborative interactions between clinical and basic scientists. Our understanding of the mechanisms that control the critical plateau and repolarization phases of the human ventricular action potential has been raised to new levels through these studies, which have clarified the manner in which both potassium and sodium channels regulate this critical period of electrical activity.
Arthur J. Moss, Robert S. Kass
The QT interval is the electrocardiographic manifestation of ventricular repolarization, is variable under physiologic conditions, and is measurably prolonged by many drugs. Rarely, however, individuals with normal base-line intervals may display exaggerated QT interval prolongation, and the potentially fatal polymorphic ventricular tachycardia torsade de pointes, with drugs or other environmental stressors such as heart block or heart failure. This review summarizes the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying this acquired or drug-induced form of long QT syndrome, describes approaches to the analysis of a role for DNA variants in the mediation of individual susceptibility, and proposes that these concepts may be generalizable to common acquired arrhythmias.
Dan M. Roden, Prakash C. Viswanathan
Here we review the current knowledge about the mutations of the gene encoding the cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR2) that cause cardiac arrhythmias. Similarities between the mutations identified in the RyR2 gene and those found in the gene RyR1 that cause malignant hyperthermia and central core disease are discussed. In vitro functional characterization of RyR1 and RyR2 mutants is reviewed, with a focus on the contribution that in vitro expression studies have made to our understanding of related human diseases.
Silvia G. Priori, Carlo Napolitano
The transport of anions across cellular membranes is crucial for various functions, including the control of electrical excitability of muscle and nerve, transport of salt and water across epithelia, and the regulation of cell volume or the acidification and ionic homeostasis of intracellular organelles. Given this broad range of functions, it is perhaps not surprising that mutations in Cl– channels lead to a large spectrum of diseases. These diverse pathologies include the muscle disorder myotonia, cystic fibrosis, renal salt loss in Bartter syndrome, kidney stones, deafness, and the bone disease osteopetrosis. This review will focus on diseases related to transepithelial transport and on disorders involving vesicular Cl– channels.
Thomas J. Jentsch, Tanja Maritzen, Anselm A. Zdebik
ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels, so named because they are inhibited by intracellular ATP, play key physiological roles in many tissues. In pancreatic β cells, these channels regulate glucose-dependent insulin secretion and serve as the target for sulfonylurea drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes. This review focuses on insulin secretory disorders, such as congenital hyperinsulinemia and neonatal diabetes, that result from mutations in KATP channel genes. It also considers the extent to which defective regulation of KATP channel activity contributes to the etiology of type 2 diabetes.
Frances M. Ashcroft
Ion channels are pore-forming proteins that provide pathways for the controlled movement of ions into or out of cells. Ionic movement across cell membranes is critical for essential and physiological processes ranging from control of the strength and duration of the heartbeat to the regulation of insulin secretion in pancreatic β cells. Diseases caused by mutations in genes that encode ion channel subunits or regulatory proteins are referred to as channelopathies. As might be expected based on the diverse roles of ion channels, channelopathies range from inherited cardiac arrhythmias, to muscle disorders, to forms of diabetes. This series of reviews examines the roles of ion channels in health and disease.
Robert S. Kass
Human parainfluenza viruses cause several serious respiratory diseases in children for which there is no effective prevention or therapy. Parainfluenza viruses initiate infection by binding to cell surface receptors and then, via coordinated action of the 2 viral surface glycoproteins, fuse directly with the cell membrane to release the viral replication machinery into the host cell’s cytoplasm. During this process, the receptor-binding molecule must trigger the viral fusion protein to mediate fusion and entry of the virus into a cell. This review explores the binding and entry into cells of parainfluenza virus type 3, focusing on how the receptor-binding molecule triggers the fusion process. There are several steps during the process of binding, triggering, and fusion that are now understood at the molecular level, and each of these steps represents potential targets for interrupting infection.
The mapping of disease genes to specific loci has received a great deal of attention in the last decade, and many advances in therapeutics have resulted. Here we review family-based and population-based methods for association analysis. We define the factors that determine statistical power and show how study design and analysis should be designed to maximize the probability of localizing disease genes.
Derek Gordon, Stephen J. Finch
Recent advances in statistical methods and genomic technologies have ushered in a new era in mapping clinically important quantitative traits. However, many refinements and novel statistical approaches are required to enable greater successes in this mapping. The possible impact of recent findings pertaining to the structure of the human genome on efforts to map quantitative traits is yet unclear.
Partha P. Majumder, Saurabh Ghosh
The causal chain between a gene and its effect on disease susceptibility cannot be understood until the effect has been localized in the DNA sequence. Recently, polymorphisms incorporated in the HapMap Project have made linkage disequilibrium (LD) the most powerful tool for localization. The genetics of LD, the maps and databases that it provides, and their use for association mapping, as well as alternative methods for gene localization, are briefly described.
Newton E. Morton
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