Epilepsy-causing STX1B mutations translate altered protein functions into distinct phenotypes in mouse neurons
Vardar, Gülçin and Gerth, Fabian and Schmitt, Xiao Jakob and Rautenstrauch, Pia and Trimbuch, Thorsten and Schubert, Julian and Lerche, Holger and Rosenmund, Christian and Freund, Christian – 2020
Syntaxin 1B (STX1B) is a core component of the N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) complex that is critical for the exocytosis of synaptic vesicles in the presynapse. SNARE-mediated vesicle fusion is assisted by Munc18-1, which recruits STX1B in the auto-inhibited conformation, while Munc13 catalyses the fast and efficient pairing of helices during SNARE complex formation. Mutations within the STX1B gene are associated with epilepsy. Here we analysed three STX1B mutations by biochemical and electrophysiological means. These three paradigmatic mutations cause epilepsy syndromes of different severity, from benign fever-associated seizures in childhood to severe epileptic encephalopathies. An insertion/deletion (K45/RMCIE, L46M) mutation (STX1BInDel), causing mild epilepsy and located in the early helical Habc domain, leads to an unfolded protein unable to sustain neurotransmission. STX1BG226R, causing epileptic encephalopathies, strongly compromises the interaction with Munc18-1 and reduces expression of both proteins, the size of the readily releasable pool of vesicles, and Ca2+-triggered neurotransmitter release when expressed in STX1-null neurons. The mutation STX1BV216E, also causing epileptic encephalopathies, only slightly diminishes Munc18-1 and Munc13 interactions, but leads to enhanced fusogenicity and increased vesicular release probability, also in STX1-null neurons. Even though the synaptic output remained unchanged in excitatory hippocampal STX1B+/- neurons exogenously expressing STX1B mutants, the manifestation of clear and distinct molecular disease mechanisms by these mutants suggest that certain forms of epilepsies can be conceptualized by assigning mutations to structurally sensitive regions of the STX1B-Munc18-1 interface, translating into distinct neurophysiological phenotypes.