Michael T. Broman, Rangarajan D. Nadadur, Carlos Perez-Cervantes, Ozanna Burnicka-Turek, Sonja Lazarevic, Anna Gams, Brigitte Laforest, Jeffrey D. Steimle, Sabrina Iddir, Zhezhen Wang, Linsin Smith, Stefan R. Mazurek, Harold E. Olivey, Pingzhu Zhou, Margaret Gadek, Kaitlyn M. Shen, Zoheb Khan, Joshua W.M. Theisen, Xinan H. Yang, Kohta Ikegami, Igor R. Efimov, William T. Pu, Christopher R. Weber, Elizabeth M. McNally, Eric C. Svensson, Ivan P. Moskowitz

A Genomic Link From Heart Failure to Atrial Fibrillation Risk: FOG2 Modulates a TBX5/GATA4-Dependent Atrial Gene Regulatory Network

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

BACKGROUND: The relationship between heart failure (HF) and atrial fibrillation (AF) is clear, with up to half of patients with HF progressing to AF. The pathophysiological basis of AF in the context of HF is presumed to result from atrial remodeling. Upregulation of the transcription factor FOG2 (friend of GATA2; encoded by ZFPM2 ) is observed in human ventricles during HF and causes HF in mice. METHODS: FOG2 expression was assessed in human atria. The effect of adult-specific FOG2 overexpression in the mouse heart was evaluated by whole animal electrophysiology, in vivo organ electrophysiology, cellular electrophysiology, calcium flux, mouse genetic interactions, gene expression, and genomic function, including a novel approach for defining functional transcription factor interactions based on overlapping effects on enhancer noncoding transcription. RESULTS: FOG2 is significantly upregulated in the human atria during HF. Adult cardiomyocyte-specific FOG2 overexpression in mice caused primary spontaneous AF before the development of HF or atrial remodeling. FOG2 overexpression generated arrhythmia substrate and trigger in cardiomyocytes, including calcium cycling defects. We found that FOG2 repressed atrial gene expression promoted by TBX5 . FOG2 bound a subset of GATA4 and TBX5 co-bound genomic locations, defining a shared atrial gene regulatory network. FOG2 repressed TBX5-dependent transcription from a subset of co-bound enhancers, including a conserved enhancer at the Atp2a2 locus. Atrial rhythm abnormalities in mice caused by Tbx5 haploinsufficiency were rescued by Fog2 haploinsufficiency. CONCLUSIONS: Transcriptional changes in the atria observed in human HF directly antagonize the atrial rhythm gene regulatory network, providing a genomic link between HF and AF risk independent of atrial remodeling.

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