Natural genetic variation of the cardiac transcriptome in non-diseased donors and patients with dilated cardiomyopathy

Genome Biology
Matthias HeinigNorbert Hubner


Genetic variation is an important determinant of RNA transcription and splicing, which in turn contributes to variation in human traits, including cardiovascular diseases. Here we report the first in-depth survey of heart transcriptome variation using RNA-sequencing in 97 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and 108 non-diseased controls. We reveal extensive differences of gene expression and splicing between dilated cardiomyopathy patients and controls, affecting known as well as novel dilated cardiomyopathy genes. Moreover, we show a widespread effect of genetic variation on the regulation of transcription, isoform usage, and allele-specific expression. Systematic annotation of genome-wide association SNPs identifies 60 functional candidate genes for heart phenotypes, representing 20% of all published heart genome-wide association loci. Focusing on the dilated cardiomyopathy phenotype we found that eQTL variants are also enriched for dilated cardiomyopathy genome-wide association signals in two independent cohorts. RNA transcription, splicing, and allele-specific expression are each important determinants of the dilated cardiomyopathy phenotype and are controlled by genetic factors. Our results represent a powerful resource f...Continue Reading


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