BACKGROUND: Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is common in individuals with hemizygous deletions of chromosome 22q11.2 that remove the cardiac transcription factor TBX1.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the contribution of common and rare TBX1 genetic variants to TOF.
DESIGN: Rare TBX1 variants were sought by resequencing coding exons and splice-site boundaries. Common TBX1 variants were investigated by genotyping 20 haplotype-tagging SNPs capturing all the common variations present at the locus. Association analysis was performed using the program UNPHASED.
PATIENTS: TBX1 exons were sequenced in 93 patients with non-syndromic TOF. Single nucleotide polymorphism analysis was performed in 356 patients with TOF, their parents and healthy controls.
RESULTS: Three novel variants not present in 1000 chromosomes from healthy ethnically matched controls were identified. One of these variants, an in-frame 57 base-pair deletion in the third exon which removed 19 evolutionarily conserved residues, decreased transcriptional activity by 40% in a dual luciferase assay (p=0.008). Protein expression studies demonstrated that this mutation affected TBX1 protein stability. After correction for multiple comparisons, no significant associations between common genetic variants and TOF susceptibility were found.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that rare TBX1 variants with functional consequences are present in a small proportion of non-syndromic TOF.