Biba-Maazou N - Becq H - Pallesi-Pocachard E - Sarno S - Granjeaud S - Montheil A - Kurz M - Villard L - Milh M - Santini PL - Aniksztejn L
The Journal of physiology
De novo missense variants in the KCNQ2 gene encoding the Kv7.2 subunit of voltage-gated potassium Kv7/M channels are the main cause of developmental and epileptic encephalopathy with neonatal onset. Although seizures usually resolve during development, cognitive/motor deficits persist. To gain a better understanding of the cellular mechanisms underlying network dysfunction and their progression over time, we investigated in vivo, using local field potential recordings of freely moving animals, and ex vivo in layers II/III and V of motor cortical slices, using patch-clamp recordings, the electrophysiological properties of pyramidal cells from a heterozygous knock-in mouse model carrying the Kv7.2 p.T274M pathogenic variant during neonatal, postweaning and juvenile developmental stages. We found that knock-in mice displayed spontaneous seizures preferentially at postweaning rather than at juvenile stages. At the cellular level, the variant led to a reduction in M current density/conductance and to neuronal hyperexcitability. These alterations were observed during the neonatal period in pyramidal cells of layers II/III and during the postweaning stage in pyramidal cells of layer V. Moreover, there was an increase in the frequency of spontaneous network-driven events mediated by GABA receptors, suggesting that the excitability of interneurons was also increased. However, all these alterations were no longer observed in layers II/III and V of juvenile mice. Thus, our data indicate that the action of the variant is regulated developmentally. This raises the possibility that the age-related seizure remission observed in KCNQ2-related developmental and epileptic encephalopathy patients results from a time-limited alteration of Kv7 channel activity and neuronal excitability. KEY POINTS: The electrophysiological impact of the pathogenic c.821C>T mutation of the KCNQ2 gene (p.T274M variant in Kv7.2 subunit) related to developmental and epileptic encephalopathy has been analysed both in vivo and ex vivo in layers II/III and V of motor cortical slices from a knock-in mouse model during development at neonatal, postweaning and juvenile stages. M current density and conductance are decreased and the excitability of layer II/III pyramidal cells is increased in slices from neonatal and postweaning knock-in mice but not from juvenile knock-in mice. M current and excitability of layer V pyramidal cells are impacted in knock-in mice only at the postweaning stage. Spontaneous GABAergic network-driven events can be recorded until the postweaning stage, and their frequency is increased in layers II/III of the knock-in mice. Knock-in mice display spontaneous seizures preferentially at postweaning rather than at juvenile stages.