Prevalence and spectrum of PITX2c mutations associated with congenital heart disease

DNA Cell Biol. 2013 Dec;32(12):708-16. doi: 10.1089/dna.2013.2185. Epub 2013 Oct 1.


Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common form of birth defect and is the leading noninfectious cause of infant death. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that genetic risk factors are involved in the pathogenesis of CHD. However, CHD is a genetically heterogeneous disease and the genetic defects underlying CHD in an overwhelming majority of patients remain unclear. In this study, the whole coding region and splice junction sites of the PITX2c gene, which encodes variant 3 of paired-like homeodomain transcription factor 2 crucial for normal cardiovascular morphogenesis, were sequenced in 382 unrelated patients with CHD, and 2 novel heterozygous mutations, p.W147X and p.N153D, were identified in 2 unrelated patients with CHD, respectively, including a 1-year-old male patient with double outlet right ventricle in combination with ventricular septal defect and a 4-year-old female patient with ventricular septal defect. The mutations were absent in 400 control chromosomes and were both predicted to be disease-causing by MutationTaster. Multiple alignments of PITX2c proteins across species displayed that the altered amino acids were completely conserved evolutionarily. Functional analysis revealed that the mutated PITX2c proteins were associated with a significantly reduced transactivational activity compared with their wild-type counterpart. These findings provide a novel insight into the molecular mechanisms implicated in CHD, suggesting potential implications for the antenatal prophylaxis and allele-specific treatment of CHD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Child, Preschool
  • China / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / genetics*
  • Homeobox Protein PITX2
  • Homeodomain Proteins / chemistry
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Prevalence
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Transcription Factors