Yearly Clinical Review of a Patient’s WGS Results Leads to a New Gene Candidate for a Complex Cardiomyopathy Phenotype

May 27, 2020 | 12:00 PM EDT

Presented by Robert M. Hamilton and Priyanka Kugamoorthy, The Hospital for Sick Children and Research Institute, Toronto, Canada


The rapid evolution of genetic disease understanding and expanding genetic databases behooves clinician specialists to regularly review the status of clinical genetic test panels, reevaluating the status of identified variants. With the increasing use of WES and WGS sequencing, these results likely also need regular review.

We present a four-generation family affected by sudden cardiac arrests, ventricular tachycardia and (within the last 2 generations) documented left ventricular non-compaction. An affected member underwent a 38-gene pan-cardiomyopathy clinical genetic panel with no identified pathogenic variants. Therefore, affected members from three surviving generations (*) agreed to undergo genetic testing by whole genome sequencing in 2016. Analysis with Golden Helix SVS identified 69 shared, rare (MAF≤0.00005) coding variants in 40 genes, but none were identified to be associated with cardiac phenotypes.

At clinical follow-up of the youngest family member in 2019, we elected to review our WGS results again. A recent review of the genetics and genomics of dilated cardiomyopathy now identifies the SRA1 gene as being potentially involved in this phenotype, although no human cases have yet been reported. Upon review of this families previous WGS sequencing using SVS, we identified a SRA1 c.328_329 ins GAC (p.Val110delinsGlyLeu) rare shared variant. This variant is only present in 2 of 142724 alleles in the gnomAD database and inserts an additional amino acid into a partially conserved two amino acid region within an otherwise highly conserved protein region.

Friedrichs and colleagues previously identified SRA1 as one of 3 genes within a 600kb haploblock associated with cardiomyopathy in three independent Caucasian populations. In zebrafish, sra1 morphants display severe pericardial edema. The human SRA1 region also encodes a long noncoding RNA, lnc-SRA1-2, that is modulated in heart failure, attenuates hypoxia-induced injury in experimental cardiomyocytes through PPARγ/NF-κB signalling, and promotes the activation of cardiac myofibroblasts. SRA1 knockdown in C2C12 mouse myoblast cells prevented proper muscle gene expression and cell differentiation.

Cardiac genetics assessments by whole genome or whole exome sequencing also need regular review, which can be easily performed by Golden Helix SVS software.  Links to new and frequently updated gene tracks and other genetic databases facilitate these reviews.