A Mouse Model of Human Congenital Heart Disease: High Incidence of Diverse Cardiac Anomalies and Ventricular Noncompaction Produced by Heterozygous Nkx2-5 Homeodomain Missense Mutation
Background—Heterozygous human mutations of NKX2-5 are highly penetrant and associated with varied congenital heart defects. The heterozygous knockout of murine Nkx2-5, in contrast, manifests less profound cardiac malformations, with low disease penetrance. We sought to study this apparent discrepancy between human and mouse genetics. Since missense mutations in the NKX2-5 homeodomain (DNA binding domain) are the most frequently reported type of human mutation, we replicated this genetic defect in a murine knock-in model.
Methods and Results—We generated a murine model in a 129/Sv genetic background by knocking-in an Nkx2-5 homeodomain missense mutation previously identified in humans. The mutation was located at homeodomain position 52Arg→Gly (R52G). All the heterozygous neonatal Nkx2-5+/R52G mice demonstrated a prominent trabecular layer in the ventricular wall, so called noncompaction, along with diverse cardiac anomalies, including atrioventricular septal defects, Ebstein's malformation of the tricuspid valve, and perimembranous and/or muscular ventricular septal defects. In addition, P10 Nkx2-5+/R52G mice demonstrated atrial sepal anomalies, with significant increase in the size of the inter-atrial communication and fossa ovalis, and decrease in the length of the flap valve compared to control Nkx2-5+/+ or Nkx2-5+/- mice.
Conclusions—The results of our study demonstrate that heterozygous missense mutation in the murine Nkx2-5 homeodomain (R52G) are highly penetrant, and result in pleiotropic cardiac effects. Thus, in contrast to heterozygous Nkx2-5 knockout mice, the effects of the heterozygous knock-in mimic findings in humans with heterozygous missense mutation in NKX2-5 homeodomain.
- Received June 3, 2013.
- Revision received May 2, 2014.
- Accepted May 29, 2014.