Objectives: We sought to identify a novel gene for dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Background: DCM is a heritable, genetically heterogeneous disorder that remains idiopathic in the majority of patients. Familial cases provide an opportunity to discover unsuspected molecular bases of DCM, enabling pre-clinical risk detection. Methods: Two large families with autosomal-dominant DCM were studied. Genome-wide linkage analysis was used to identify a disease locus, followed by fine mapping and positional candidate gene sequencing. Mutation scanning was then performed in 278 unrelated subjects with idiopathic DCM, prospectively identified at the Mayo Clinic. Results: Overlapping loci for DCM were independently mapped to chromosome 10q25-q26. Deoxyribonucleic acid sequencing of affected individuals in each family revealed distinct heterozygous missense mutations in exon 9 of RBM20, encoding ribonucleic acid (RNA) binding motif protein 20. Comprehensive coding sequence analyses identified missense mutations clustered within this same exon in 6 additional DCM families. Mutations segregated with DCM (peak composite logarithm of the odds score >11.49), were absent in 480 control samples, and altered residues within a highly conserved arginine/serine (RS)-rich region. Expression of RBM20 messenger RNA was confirmed in human heart tissue. Conclusions: Our findings establish RBM20 as a DCM gene and reveal a mutation hotspot in the RS domain. RBM20 is preferentially expressed in the heart and encodes motifs prototypical of spliceosome proteins that regulate alternative pre-messenger RNA splicing, thus implicating a functionally distinct gene in human cardiomyopathy. RBM20 mutations are associated with young age at diagnosis, end-stage heart failure, and high mortality.
- dilated cardiomyopathy
- linkage analysis