There is growing evidence that putative gene regulatory networks including cardio-enriched transcription factors and their target genes can play a potentially important role in the process of adaptive and maladaptive atrial rhythm remodeling. In turn, expression of atrial fibrillation-associated transcription factors is under the control of regulatory non-coding RNAs. This review broadly explores gene-regulatory mechanisms associated with susceptibility to atrial fibrillation—with key examples from both animal models and patients—within the context of both cardiac transcription factors and non-coding RNAs. These two systems appear to have multiple levels of cross-regulation and act coordinately to achieve effective control of atrial rhythm effector gene expression. Perturbations of a dynamic expression balance between transcription factors and corresponding non-coding RNAs can provoke the development or promote the progression of atrial fibrillation. We also outline deficiencies in current models and discuss ongoing studies to clarify remaining mechanistic questions.
Part of the book: Cardiac Arrhythmias