Oligogenic Architecture of Rare Noncoding Variants Distinguishes 4 Congenital Heart Disease Phenotypes

Mengyao Yu, Matthew Aguirre, Meiwen Jia, Ketrin Gjoni, Aldo Cordova-Palomera, Chad Munger, Dulguun Amgalan, X. Rosa Ma, Alexandre Pereira, Catherine Tcheandjieu, Christine Seidman, Jonathan Seidman, Martin Tristani-Firouzi, Wendy Chung, Elizabeth Goldmuntz, Deepak Srivastava, Ruth J.F. Loos, Nathalie Chami, Heather Cordell, Martina DreßenBertram Mueller-Myhsok, Harald Lahm, Markus Krane, Katherine S. Pollard, Jesse M. Engreitz, Sarah A. Gagliano Taliun, Bruce D. Gelb, James R. Priest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is highly heritable, but the power to identify inherited risk has been limited to analyses of common variants in small cohorts. Methods: We performed reimputation of 4 CHD cohorts (n=55 342) to the TOPMed reference panel (freeze 5), permitting meta-analysis of 14 784 017 variants including 6 035 962 rare variants of high imputation quality as validated by whole genome sequencing. Results: Meta-analysis identified 16 novel loci, including 12 rare variants, which displayed moderate or large effect sizes (median odds ratio, 3.02) for 4 separate CHD categories. Analyses of chromatin structure link 13 of the genome-wide significant loci to key genes in cardiac development; rs373447426 (minor allele frequency, 0.003 [odds ratio, 3.37 for Conotruncal heart disease]; P=1.49×10-8) is predicted to disrupt chromatin structure for 2 nearby genes BDH1 and DLG1 involved in Conotruncal development. A lead variant rs189203952 (minor allele frequency, 0.01 [odds ratio, 2.4 for left ventricular outflow tract obstruction]; P=1.46×10-8) is predicted to disrupt the binding sites of 4 transcription factors known to participate in cardiac development in the promoter of SPAG9. A tissue-specific model of chromatin conformation suggests that common variant rs78256848 (minor allele frequency, 0.11 [odds ratio, 1.4 for Conotruncal heart disease]; P=2.6×10-8) physically interacts with NCAM1 (PFDR=1.86×10-27), a neural adhesion molecule acting in cardiac development. Importantly, while each individual malformation displayed substantial heritability (observed h2 ranging from 0.26 for complex malformations to 0.37 for left ventricular outflow tract obstructive disease) the risk for different CHD malformations appeared to be separate, without genetic correlation measured by linkage disequilibrium score regression or regional colocalization. Conclusions: We describe a set of rare noncoding variants conferring significant risk for individual heart malformations which are linked to genes governing cardiac development. These results illustrate that the oligogenic basis of CHD and significant heritability may be linked to rare variants outside protein-coding regions conferring substantial risk for individual categories of cardiac malformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-266
Number of pages9
JournalCirculation. Genomic and precision medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • alleles
  • chromatin
  • live birth
  • phenotype
  • prevalence


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