Significant advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that cause congenital long QT syndrome (LQTS) have been made. A wide variety of experimental approaches, including heterologous expression of mutant ion channel proteins and the use of inducible pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) from LQTS patients offer insights into etiology and new therapeutic strategies. This review briefly discusses the major molecular mechanisms underlying LQTS type 2 (LQT2), which is caused by loss-of-function (LOF) mutations in the KCNH2 gene (also known as the human ether-à-go-go-related gene or hERG). Almost half of suspected LQT2-causing mutations are missense mutations, and functional studies suggest that about 90% of these mutations disrupt the intracellular transport, or trafficking, of the KCNH2-encoded Kv11.1 channel protein to the cell surface membrane. In this review, we discuss emerging strategies that improve the trafficking and functional expression of trafficking-deficient LQT2 Kv11.1 channel proteins to the cell surface membrane and how new insights into the structure of the Kv11.1 channel protein will lead to computational approaches that identify which KCNH2 missense variants confer a high-risk for LQT2.

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Published in Biomolecules, v. 10, issue 8, 1144.

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This work was supported by the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) (R35) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under grant number R35GM124977.