Rare genetic variants in GATA transcription factors in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a very heterogeneous disease. Although primarily caused by mutations in genes encoding sarcomeric proteins, other genes might explain that heterogeneity. Potential candidate genes are GATA transcription factors that regulate the expression of proteins associated with HCM. Exons of GATA2, GATA4, and GATA6 genes were sequenced in 212 patients with unrelated HCM previously analyzed for genes encoding the most frequently mutated sarcomeric proteins. Functional effects of variants were predicted by in silico analyses. 3 potentially pathogenic variants were identified: c.-77G>A in GATA2, p.Ala343Thr (rs370588269) in GATA4, and p.Pro555Ala (rs146243018) in GATA6. Multivariate analyses showed that angina was more frequent in patients carrying sarcomeric and GATA rare variants (55% vs 23.2% in non-carriers of GATA rare variants, OR (95% CI) 7.12 (1.23 to 41.27), p=0.029). Among patients without a known causal mutation, GATA rare variants were associated with a greater maximum posterior wall thickness (16.4±4.4 vs 14.0±3.1 mm in non-carriers, p=0.021). Thus, variants having a putative effect on GATA genes would alter the expression of their target genes and could modify the hypertrophic response. Therefore, although relatively infrequent in patients with HCM, they may represent a novel insight into the molecular mechanisms related to the pathogenesis of HCM.