A calibrated functional patch-clamp assay to enhance clinical variant interpretation in KCNH2-related long QT syndrome.
Jiang C., Richardson E., Farr J., Hill AP., Ullah R., Kroncke BM., Harrison SM., Thomson KL., Ingles J., Vandenberg JI., Ng C-A.
Modern sequencing technologies have revolutionized our detection of gene variants. However, in most genes, including KCNH2, the majority of missense variants are currently classified as variants of uncertain significance (VUSs). The aim of this study was to investigate the utility of an automated patch-clamp assay for aiding clinical variant classification in KCNH2. The assay was designed according to recommendations proposed by the Clinical Genome Sequence Variant Interpretation Working Group. Thirty-one variants (17 pathogenic/likely pathogenic, 14 benign/likely benign) were classified internally as variant controls. They were heterozygously expressed in Flp-In HEK293 cells for assessing the effects of variants on current density and channel gating in order to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. All 17 pathogenic variant controls had reduced current density, and 13 of 14 benign variant controls had normal current density, which enabled determination of normal and abnormal ranges for applying evidence of moderate or supporting strength for VUS reclassification. Inclusion of functional assay evidence enabled us to reclassify 6 out of 44 KCNH2 VUSs as likely pathogenic. The high-throughput patch-clamp assay can provide moderate-strength evidence for clinical interpretation of clinical KCNH2 variants and demonstrates the value of developing automated patch-clamp assays for functional characterization of ion channel gene variants.