Few known monogenic causes of non-syndromic congenital heart disease (CHD) have been identified. Mutations in NKX2.5 were initially implicated in familial cases of cardiac septal defects and subsequently, functionally significant NKX2.5 mutations were found in diverse forms of non-syndromic CHD. Similarly, mutations in GATA4, which encodes a cardiac transcription factor, were first identified in familial cases of cardiac septal defects. We hypothesize that individuals with non-syndromic CHD may harbor GATA4 mutations and that these mutations alter the biochemical properties of the protein. The coding region encompassing the six exons of GATA4 was screened in a study population of 157 patients with CHD. We identified several sequence variations in GATA4. We tested these novel sequence variations that altered evolutionarily conserved amino acids and other previously reported GATA4 mutations in various biochemical assays. The novel sequence variations had no biochemical deficits while a previously reported, but unstudied, missense mutation in GATA4 (S52F) functioned as a hypomorph in transactivation assays. We did not identify any novel GATA4 mutations in our patient population with non-syndromic CHD. Consistent with previous findings, GATA4 mutations that result in deficits in transactivation ability are consistently associated with CHD suggesting that normal transactivation properties of GATA4 are required for proper cardiac development.
Copyright 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.