Functional Assessment of Calcium-Sensing Receptor Variants Confirms Familial Hypocalciuric Hypercalcemia

Benjamin H. Mullin, Nathan J. Pavlos, Suzanne J. Brown, John P. Walsh, Ross A. McKellar, Scott G. Wilson, Bryan K. Ward

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2 Citations (Web of Science)


Context: In the clinic it is important to differentiate primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) from the more benign, inherited disorder, familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia (FHH). Since the conditions may sometimes overlap biochemically, identification of calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) gene variants causative of FHH (but not PHPT) is the most decisive diagnostic aid. When novel variants are identified, bioinformatics and functional assessment are required to establish pathogenicity. Objective: We identified 3 novel CASR transmembrane domain missense variants, Thr699Asn, Arg701Gly, and Thr808Pro, in 3 probands provisionally diagnosed with FHH and examined the variants using bioinformatics and functional analysis. Methods: Bioinformatics assessment utilized wANNOVAR software. For functional characterization, each variant was cloned into a mammalian expression vector; wild-type and variant receptors were transfected into HEK293 cells, and their expression and cellular localization were assessed by Western blotting and confocal immunofluorescence, respectively. Receptor activation in HEK293 cells was determined using an IP-One ELISA assay following stimulation with Ca++ ions. Results: Bioinformatics analysis of the variants was unable to definitively assign pathogenicity. Compared with wild-type receptor, all variants demonstrated impaired expression of mature receptor reaching the cell surface and diminished activation at physiologically relevant Ca++ concentrations. Conclusion: Three CASR missense variants identified in probands provisionally diagnosed with FHH result in receptor inactivation and are therefore likely causative of FHH. Inactivation may be due to inadequate processing/trafficking of mature receptor and/or conformational changes induced by the variants affecting receptor signaling. This study demonstrates the value of functional studies in assessing genetic variants identified in hypercalcemic patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbvac025
JournalJournal of the Endocrine Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


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