Background: A causal genetic mutation is found in 40% of families with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), leaving a large percentage of families genetically unsolved. This prevents adequate counseling and clear recommendations in these families. We aim to identify novel genes or modifiers associated with DCM.
Methods: We performed computational ranking of human genes based on coexpression with a predefined set of genes known to be associated with DCM, which allowed us to prioritize gene candidates for their likelihood of being involved in DCM. Top candidates will be checked for variants in the available whole-exome sequencing data of 142 DCM patients. RNA was isolated from cardiac biopsies to investigate gene expression.
Results: PDLIM5 was classified as the top candidate. An interesting heterozygous variant (189_190delinsGG) was found in a DCM patient with a known pathogenic truncating TTN-variant. The PDLIM5 loss-of-function (LoF) variant affected all cardiac-specific isoforms of PDLIM5 and no LoF variants were detected in the same region in a control cohort of 26,000 individuals. RNA expression of PDLIM5 and its direct interactors (MYOT, LDB3, and MYOZ2) was increased in cardiac tissue of this patient, indicating a possible compensatory mechanism. The PDLIM5 variant cosegregated with the TTN-variant and the phenotype, leading to a high disease penetrance in this family. A second patient was an infant with a homozygous 10 kb-deletion of exon 2 in PDLIM5 resulting in early-onset cardiac disease, showing the importance of PDLIM5 in cardiac function.
Conclusions: Heterozygous PDLIM5 variants are rare and therefore will not have a major contribution in DCM. Although they likely play a role in disease development as this gene plays a major role in contracting cardiomyocytes and homozygous variants lead to early-onset cardiac disease. Other environmental and/or genetic factors are probably necessary to unveil the cardiac phenotype in PDLIM5 mutation carriers.
Keywords: dilated cardiomyopathy; genetic modifier; genetics; sarcomere.
© 2019 The Authors. Molecular Genetics & Genomic Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.