Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common type of cardiac rhythm disturbance encountered in clinical practice, is associated with substantially increased morbidity and mortality. Aggregating evidence demonstrates that abnormal cardiovascular development is involved in the pathogenesis of AF. A recent study has revealed that the TBX5 gene, which encodes a T-box transcription factor key to cardiovascular development, was associated with AF and atypical Holt-Oram syndrome. However, the prevalence and spectrum of TBX5 mutation in patients with lone AF remain unclear. In this study, the coding regions and splicing junction sites of TBX5 were sequenced in 192 unrelated patients with lone AF and 300 unrelated ethnically-matched healthy individuals used as controls. The causative potential of the identified TBX5 variation was evaluated by MutationTaster and PolyPhen-2. The functional effect of the mutant TBX5 was assayed by using a dual-luciferase reporter assay system. As a result, a novel heterozygous TBX5 mutation, p.H170D, was identified in a patient, with a mutational prevalence of approximately 0.52%. This mutation, which was absent in the 300 control individuals, altered the amino acid completely conserved evolutionarily across species, and was predicted to be disease-causing. Functional deciphers showed that the mutant TBX5 was associated with significantly reduced transcriptional activity when compared with its wild-type counterpart. Furthermore, the mutation significantly decreased the synergistic activation between TBX5 and NKX2-5 or GATA4. The findings expand the mutational spectrum of TBX5 linked to AF and provide new evidence that dysfunctional TBX5 may contribute to lone AF.
Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Genetics; Reporter gene assay.; TBX5; Transcription factor.