Background: The genetic basis of atrial fibrillation (AF) and congenital heart disease remains incompletely understood.
Objective: We sought to determine the causative mutation in a family with AF, atrial septal defects, and ventricular septal defects.
Methods: We evaluated a pedigree with 16 family members, 1 with an atrial septal defect, 1 with a ventricular septal defect, and 3 with AF; we performed whole exome sequencing in 3 affected family members. Given that early-onset AF was prominent in the family, we then screened individuals with early-onset AF, defined as an age of onset <66 years, for mutations in GATA6. Variants were functionally characterized using reporter assays in a mammalian cell line.
Results: Exome sequencing in 3 affected individuals identified a conserved mutation, R585L, in the transcription factor gene GATA6. In the Massachusetts General Hospital Atrial Fibrillation (MGH AF) Study, the mean age of AF onset was 47.1 ± 10.9 years; 79% of the participants were men; and there was no evidence of structural heart disease. We identified 3 GATA6 variants (P91S, A177T, and A543G). Using wild-type and mutant GATA6 constructs driving atrial natriuretic peptide promoter reporter, we found that 3 of the 4 variants had a marked upregulation of luciferase activity (R585L: 4.1-fold, P < .0001; P91S: 2.5-fold, P = .0002; A177T; 1.7-fold, P = .03). In addition, when co-overexpressed with GATA4 and MEF2C, GATA6 variants exhibited upregulation of the alpha myosin heavy chain and atrial natriuretic peptide reporter activity.
Conclusion: Overall, we found gain-of-function mutations in GATA6 in both a family with early-onset AF and atrioventricular septal defects as well as in a family with sporadic, early-onset AF.
Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Genetics; Mutation; Transcription factor.
Copyright © 2016 Heart Rhythm Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.