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Keywords:

  • ZIC3;
  • left-right patterning;
  • symmetry;
  • heterotaxy;
  • congenital heart disease

ABSTRACT

Mutations in zinc-finger in cerebellum 3 (ZIC3) result in heterotaxy or isolated congenital heart disease (CHD). The majority of reported mutations cluster in zinc-finger domains. We previously demonstrated that many of these lead to aberrant ZIC3 subcellular trafficking. A relative paucity of N- and C-terminal mutations has, however, prevented similar analyses in these regions. Notably, an N-terminal polyalanine expansion was recently identified in a patient with VACTERL, suggesting a potentially distinct function for this domain. Here we report ZIC3 sequencing results from 440 unrelated patients with heterotaxy and CHD, the largest cohort yet examined. Variants were identified in 5.2% of sporadic male cases. This rate exceeds previous estimates of 1% and has important clinical implications for genetic testing and risk-based counseling. Eight of 11 were novel, including 5 N-terminal variants. Subsequent functional analyses included four additional reported but untested variants. Aberrant cytoplasmic localization and decreased luciferase transactivation were observed for all zinc-finger variants, but not for downstream or in-frame upstream variants, including both analyzed polyalanine expansions. Collectively, these results expand the ZIC3 mutational spectrum, support a higher than expected prevalence in sporadic cases, and suggest alternative functions for terminal mutations, highlighting a need for further study of these domains.