Hearts 2021, 2(2), 251-269; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/hearts2020020 - 05 May 2021
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia in the human population, with an estimated incidence of 1–2% in young adults but increasing to more than 10% in 80+ years patients. Pituitary Homeobox 2, Paired Like Homeodomain 2 (PITX2c) loss-of-function in mice [...] Read more.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia in the human population, with an estimated incidence of 1–2% in young adults but increasing to more than 10% in 80+ years patients. Pituitary Homeobox 2, Paired Like Homeodomain 2 (PITX2c) loss-of-function in mice revealed that this homeodomain (HD)-containing transcription factor plays a pivotal role in atrial electrophysiology and calcium homeostasis and point to PITX2 as a candidate gene for AF. To address this issue, we recruited 31 AF patients for genetic analyses of both the known risk alleles and PITX2c open reading frame (ORF) re-sequencing. We found two-point mutations in the homedomain of PITX2 and three other variants in the 5’untranslated region. A 65 years old male patient without 4q25 risk variants but with recurrent AF displayed two distinct HD-mutations, NM_000325.5:c.309G>C (Gln103His) and NM_000325.5:c.370G>A (Glu124Lys), which both resulted in a change within a highly conserved amino acid position. To address the functional impact of the PITX2 HD mutations, we generated plasmid constructs with mutated version of each nucleotide variant (MD4 and MD5, respectively) as well as a dominant negative control construct in which the PITX2 HD was lacking (DN). Functional analyses demonstrated PITX2c MD4 and PITX2c MD5 decreased Nppa-luciferase transactivation by 50% and 40%, respectively, similar to the PITX2c DN (50%), while Shox2 promoter repression was also impaired. Co-transactivation with other cardiac-enriched co-factors, such as Gata4 and Nkx2.5, was similarly impaired, further supporting the pivotal role of these mutations for correct PITX2c function. Furthermore, when expressed in HL1 cardiomyocyte cultures, the PITX2 mutants impaired endogenous expression of calcium regulatory proteins and induced alterations in sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium accumulation. This favored alternating and irregular calcium transient amplitudes, causing deterioration of the beat-to-beat stability upon elevation of the stimulation frequency. Overall this data demonstrate that these novel PITX2c HD-mutations might be causative of atrial fibrillation in the carrier. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Determinants of Cardiac Arrhythmias)►▼ Show Figures