Rationale: The ventricular conduction system (VCS) rapidly propagates electrical impulses through the working myocardium of the ventricles to coordinate chamber contraction. GWAS (Genome-wide association studies) have associated nucleotide polymorphisms, most are located within regulatory intergenic or intronic sequences, with variation in VCS function. Two highly correlated polymorphisms (r2>0.99) associated with VCS functional variation (rs13165478 and rs13185595) occur 5′ to the gene encoding the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor HAND1 (heart- A nd neural crest derivatives-expressed protein 1). Objective: Here, we test the hypothesis that these polymorphisms influence HAND1 transcription thereby influencing VCS development and function. Methods and Results: We employed transgenic mouse models to identify an enhancer that is sufficient for left ventricle (LV) cis-regulatory activity. Two evolutionarily conserved GATA transcription factor cis-binding elements within this enhancer are bound by GATA4 and are necessary for cis-regulatory activity, as shown by in vitro DNA binding assays. CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)/Cas9-mediated deletion of this enhancer dramatically reduces Hand1 expression solely within the LV but does not phenocopy previously published mouse models of cardiac Hand1 loss-of-function. Electrophysiological and morphological analyses reveals that mice homozygous for this deleted enhancer display a morphologically abnormal VCS and a conduction system phenotype consistent with right bundle branch block. Using 1000 Genomes Project data, we identify 3 additional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), located within the Hand1 LV enhancer, that compose a haplotype with rs13165478 and rs13185595. One of these SNPs, rs10054375, overlaps with a critical GATA cis-regulatory element within the Hand1 LV enhancer. This SNP, when tested in electrophoretic mobility shift assays, disrupts GATA4 DNA-binding. Modeling 2 of these SNPs in mice causes diminished Hand1 expression and mice present with abnormal VCS function. Conclusions: Together, these findings reveal that SNP rs10054375, which is located within a necessary and sufficient LV-specific Hand1 enhancer, exhibits reduces GATA DNA-binding in electrophoretic mobility shift assay, and this enhancer in total, is required for VCS development and function in mice and perhaps humans. Visual Overview: An online visual overview is available for this article.
- transcription factors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine