Constitutively active AMP kinase mutations cause glycogen storage disease mimicking hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Michael Arad, D. Woodrow Benson, Antonio R. Perez-Atayde, William J. McKenna, Elizabeth A. Sparks, Ronald J. Kanter, Kate McGarry, J. G. Seidman, Christine E. Seidman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

473 Scopus citations


Mutations in PRKAG2, the gene for the γ2 regulatory subunit of AMP-activated protein kinase, cause cardiac hypertrophy and electrophysiologic abnormalities, particularly preexcitation (Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome) and atrioventricular conduction block. To understand the mechanisms by which PRKAG2 defects cause disease, we defined novel mutations, characterized the associated cardiac histopathology, and studied the consequences of introducing these mutations into the yeast homologue of PRKAG2, Snf4. Although the cardiac pathology caused by PRKAG2 mutations Arg302Gln, Thr400Asn, and Asn488Ile include myocyte enlargement and minimal interstitial fibrosis, these mutations were not associated with myocyte and myofibrillar disarray, the pathognomonic features of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy caused by sarcomere protein mutations. Instead PRKAG2 mutations caused pronounced vacuole formation within myocytes. Several lines of evidence indicated these vacuoles were filled with glycogen-associated granules. Analyses of the effects of human PRKAG2 mutations on Snf1/Snf4 kinase function demonstrated constitutive activity, which could foster glycogen accumulation. Taken together, our data indicate that PRKAG2 mutations do not cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy but rather lead to a novel myocardial metabolic storage disease, in which hypertrophy, ventricular pre-excitation and conduction system defects coexist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-362
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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