Clinical presentation of congenital heart disease is heterogeneous, making identification of the disease-causing genes and their genetic pathways and mechanisms of action challenging. By using in vivo electrocardiography, transthoracic echocardiography and microcomputed tomography imaging to screen 3,894 single-gene-null mouse lines for structural and functional cardiac abnormalities, here we identify 705 lines with cardiac arrhythmia, myocardial hypertrophy and/or ventricular dilation. Among these 705 genes, 486 have not been previously associated with cardiac dysfunction in humans, and some of them represent variants of unknown relevance (VUR). Mice with mutations in Casz1, Dnajc18, Pde4dip, Rnf38 or Tmem161b genes show developmental cardiac structural abnormalities, with their human orthologs being categorized as VUR. Using UK Biobank data, we validate the importance of the DNAJC18 gene for cardiac homeostasis by showing that its loss of function is associated with altered left ventricular systolic function. Our results identify hundreds of previously unappreciated genes with potential function in congenital heart disease and suggest causal function of five VUR in congenital heart disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-173
Number of pages17
JournalNature Cardiovascular Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


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