MRAS Variants Cause Cardiomyocyte Hypertrophy in Patient-Specific Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes: Additional Evidence for MRAS as a Definitive Noonan Syndrome-Susceptibility Gene

Erin M. Higgins, J. Martijn Bos, Steven M. Dotzler, C. S. John Kim, Michael J. Ackerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: MRAS was identified recently as a novel Noonan syndrome (NS)-susceptibility gene. Phenotypically, both patients with NS, harboring pathogenic MRAS variants, displayed severe cardiac hypertrophy. This study aimed to demonstrate both the necessity and sufficiency of a patient-specific variant (p.Gly23Val-MRAS) to cause NS through the generation and characterization of patient-specific, isogenic control, and disease modeled induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines. METHODS: iPSCs were derived from a patient with a p.Gly23Val-MRAS variant to assess the effect of MRAS variants on pathogenesis of NS-associated cardiac hypertrophy. CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing was used to correct the pathogenic p.Gly23Val-MRAS variant in patient cells (isogenic control) and to introduce the pathogenic variant into unrelated control cells (disease modeled) to determine the necessity and sufficiency of the p.Gly23Val-MRAS variant to elicit the disease phenotype in iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs). iPSC-CMs were analyzed by microscopy and immunofluroesence, single-cell RNAseq, Western blot, room temperature-quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and live-cell calcium imaging to define an in vitro phenotype of MRAS-mediated cardiac hypertrophy. RESULTS: Compared with controls, both patient and disease modeled iPSC-CMs were significantly larger and demonstrated changes in gene expression and intracellular pathway signaling characteristic of cardiac hypertrophy. Additionally, patient and disease modeled iPSC-CMs displayed impaired Ca2+ handling, including increased frequency of irregular Ca2+ transients and changes in Ca2+ handling kinetics. CONCLUSIONS: p.Gly23Val-MRAS is both necessary and sufficient to elicit a cardiac hypertrophy phenotype in iPSC-CMs that includes increased cell size, changes in cardiac gene expression, and abnormal calcium handling-providing further evidence to establish the monogenetic pathogenicity of p.Gly23Val-MRAS in NS with cardiac hypertrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e002648
JournalCirculation. Genomic and precision medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019



  • cell size
  • gene editing
  • induced pluripotent stem cell
  • Noonan syndrome
  • phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Genetics(clinical)

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