Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia. Previous genome-wide association studies had identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms in several genomic regions to be associated with AF. In human genome, copy number variations (CNVs) are known to contribute to disease susceptibility. Using a genome-wide multistage approach to identify AF susceptibility CNVs, we here show a common 4,470-bp diallelic CNV in the first intron of potassium interacting channel 1 gene (KCNIP1) is strongly associated with AF in Taiwanese populations (odds ratio=2.27 for insertion allele; P=6.23 x 10-24). KCNIP1 insertion is associated with higher KCNIP1 mRNA expression. KCNIP1-encoded protein potassium interacting channel 1 (KCHIP1) is physically associated with potassium Kv channels and modulates atrial transient outward current in cardiac myocytes. Overexpression of KCNIP1 results in inducible AF in zebrafish. In conclusions, a common CNV in KCNIP1 gene is a genetic predictor of AF risk possibly pointing to a functional pathway.
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