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Sleep apnea is a common disorder that represents a global public health burden. KCNK3 encodes TASK-1, a K+ channel implicated in the control of breathing, but its link with sleep apnea remains poorly understood. Here we describe a new developmental disorder with associated sleep apnea (developmental delay with sleep apnea, or DDSA) caused by rare de novo gain-of-function mutations in KCNK3. The mutations cluster around the 'X-gate', a gating motif that controls channel opening, and produce overactive channels that no longer respond to inhibition by G-protein-coupled receptor pathways. However, despite their defective X-gating, these mutant channels can still be inhibited by a range of known TASK channel inhibitors. These results not only highlight an important new role for TASK-1 K+ channels and their link with sleep apnea but also identify possible therapeutic strategies.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Genet

Publication Date





1534 - 1543