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We performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies on atrial fibrillation (AF) among 14,710 cases and 373,897 controls from Iceland and 14,792 cases and 393,863 controls from the UK Biobank, focusing on low frequency coding and splice mutations, with follow-up in samples from Norway and the US. We observed associations with two missense (OR=1.19 for both) and one splice-donor mutation (OR=1.52) in RPL3L, encoding a ribosomal protein primarily expressed in skeletal muscle and heart. Analysis of 167 RNA samples from the right atrium revealed that the splice donor mutation in RPL3L results in exon skipping. AF is the first disease associated with RPL3L and RPL3L is the first ribosomal gene implicated in AF. This finding is consistent with tissue specialization of ribosomal function. We also found an association with a missense variant in MYZAP (OR=1.37), encoding a component of the intercalated discs of cardiomyocytes, the organelle harbouring most of the mutated proteins involved in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Both discoveries emphasize the close relationship between the mechanical and electrical function of the heart.

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