May 2020
Haploinsufficiency of the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor HAND2 causes congenital heart defects
Am J Med Genet A

Authors: Cohen ASA, Simotas C, Webb BD, Shi H, Khan WA, Edelmann L, Scott SA, Singh R.

Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are caused by a disruption in heart morphogenesis, which is dependent, in part, on a network of transcription factors (TFs) that regulate myocardial development. Heterozygous sequence variants in the basic helix-loop-helix TF gene heart and neural crest derivatives expressed 2 (HAND2) have been reported among some patients with CHDs; however, HAND2 has not yet been established as a Mendelian disease gene. We report a 31-month-old male with unicommissural unicuspid aortic valve, moderate aortic stenosis, and mild pulmonic stenosis. Chromosome analysis revealed a normal 46,XY karyotype, and a CHD sequencing panel was negative for pathogenic variants in NKX2.5, GATA4, TBX5, and CHD7. However, chromosomal microarray (CMA) testing identified a heterozygous 546.0-kb deletion on chromosome 4q34.1 (174364195_174910239[GRCh37/hg19]) that included exons 1 and 2 of SCRG1, HAND2, and HAND2-AS1. Familial CMA testing determined that the deletion was paternally inherited, which supported a likely pathogenic classification as the proband’s father had previously undergone surgery for Tetralogy of Fallot. The family history was also notable for a paternal uncle who had previously died from complications related to an unknown heart defect. Taken together, this first report of a HAND2 and HAND2-AS1 deletion in a family with CHDs strongly supports haploinsufficiency of HAND2 as an autosomal dominant cause of CHD.

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