Transforming growth factor Beta2 is required for valve remodeling during heart development.
ABSTRACT: Although the function of transforming growth factor beta2 (TGF?2) in epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) is well studied, its role in valve remodeling remains to be fully explored. Here, we used histological, morphometric, immunohistochemical and molecular approaches and showed that significant dysregulation of major extracellular matrix (ECM) components contributed to valve remodeling defects in Tgfb2(-/-) embryos. The data indicated that cushion mesenchymal cell differentiation was impaired in Tgfb2(-/-) embryos. Hyaluronan and cartilage link protein-1 (CRTL1) were increased in hyperplastic valves of Tgfb2(-/-) embryos, indicating increased expansion and diversification of cushion mesenchyme into the cartilage cell lineage during heart development. Finally, Western blot and immunohistochemistry analyses indicate that the activation of SMAD2/3 was decreased in Tgfb2(-/-) embryos during valve remodeling. Collectively, the data indicate that TGF?2 promotes valve remodeling and differentiation by inducing matrix organization and suppressing cushion mesenchyme differentiation into cartilage cell lineage during heart development.
Project description:To expand our insight into cardiac development, a comparative DNA microarray analysis was performed using tissues from the atrioventricular junction (AVJ) and ventricular chambers of mouse hearts at embryonic day (ED) 10.5-11.0. This comparison revealed differential expression of approximately 200 genes, including cartilage link protein 1 (Crtl1). Crtl1 stabilizes the interaction between hyaluronan (HA) and versican, two extracellular matrix components essential for cardiac development. Immunohistochemical studies showed that, initially, Crtl1, versican, and HA are co-expressed in the endocardial lining of the heart, and in the endocardially derived mesenchyme of the AVJ and outflow tract (OFT). At later stages, this co-expression becomes restricted to discrete populations of endocardially derived mesenchyme. Histological analysis of the Crtl1-deficient mouse revealed a spectrum of cardiac malformations, including AV septal and myocardial defects, while expression studies showed a significant reduction in versican levels. Subsequent analysis of the hdf mouse, which carries an insertional mutation in the versican gene (CSPG2), demonstrated that haploinsufficient versican mice display septal defects resembling those seen in Crtl1(-/-) embryos, suggesting that reduced versican expression may contribute to a subset of the cardiac abnormalities observed in the Crtl1(-/-) mouse. Combined, these findings establish an important role for Crtl1 in heart development.
Project description:Embryonic heart valve primordia (cushions) maintain unidirectional blood flow during development despite an increasingly demanding mechanical environment. Recent studies demonstrate that atrioventricular (AV) cushions stiffen over gestation, but the molecular mechanisms of this process are unknown. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF?) and serotonin (5-HT) signaling modulate tissue biomechanics of postnatal valves, but less is known of their role in the biomechanical remodeling of embryonic valves. In this study, we demonstrate that exogenous TGF?3 increases AV cushion biomechanical stiffness and residual stress, but paradoxically reduces matrix compaction. We then show that TGF?3 induces contractile gene expression (RhoA, aSMA) and extracellular matrix expression (col1?2) in cushion mesenchyme, while simultaneously stimulating a two-fold increase in proliferation. Local compaction increased due to an elevated contractile phenotype, but global compaction appeared reduced due to proliferation and ECM synthesis. Blockade of TGF? type I receptors via SB431542 inhibited the TGF?3 effects. We next showed that exogenous 5-HT does not influence cushion stiffness by itself, but synergistically increases cushion stiffness with TGF?3 co-treatment. 5-HT increased TGF?3 gene expression and also potentiated TGF?3 induced gene expression in a dose-dependent manner. Blockade of the 5HT2b receptor, but not 5-HT2a receptor or serotonin transporter (SERT), resulted in complete cessation of TGF?3 induced mechanical strengthening. Finally, systemic 5-HT administration in ovo induced cushion remodeling related defects, including thinned/atretic AV valves, ventricular septal defects, and outflow rotation defects. Elevated 5-HT in ovo resulted in elevated remodeling gene expression and increased TGF? signaling activity, supporting our ex-vivo findings. Collectively, these results highlight TGF?/5-HT signaling as a potent mechanism for control of biomechanical remodeling of AV cushions during development.
Project description:Heart valve structures, derived from mesenchyme precursor cells, are composed of differentiated cell types and extracellular matrix arranged to facilitate valve function. Scleraxis (scx) is a transcription factor required for tendon cell differentiation and matrix organization. This study identified high levels of scx expression in remodeling heart valve structures at embryonic day 15.5 through postnatal stages using scx-GFP reporter mice and determined the in vivo function using mice null for scx. Scx(-/-) mice display significantly thickened heart valve structures from embryonic day 17.5, and valves from mutant mice show alterations in valve precursor cell differentiation and matrix organization. This is indicated by decreased expression of the tendon-related collagen type XIV, increased expression of cartilage-associated genes including sox9, as well as persistent expression of mesenchyme cell markers including msx1 and snai1. In addition, ultrastructure analysis reveals disarray of extracellular matrix and collagen fiber organization within the valve leaflet. Thickened valve structures and increased expression of matrix remodeling genes characteristic of human heart valve disease are observed in juvenile scx(-/-) mice. In addition, excessive collagen deposition in annular structures within the atrioventricular junction is observed. Collectively, our studies have identified an in vivo requirement for scx during valvulogenesis and demonstrate its role in cell lineage differentiation and matrix distribution in remodeling valve structures.
Project description:The formation of intricately organized aortic and pulmonic valves from primitive endocardial cushions of the outflow tract is a remarkable accomplishment of embryonic development. While not always initially pathologic, developmental semilunar valve (SLV) defects, including bicuspid aortic valve, frequently progress to a disease state in adults requiring valve replacement surgery. Disrupted embryonic growth, differentiation, and patterning events that "trigger" SLV disease are coordinated by gene expression changes in endocardial, myocardial, and cushion mesenchymal cells. We explored roles of chromatin regulation in valve gene regulatory networks by conditional inactivation of the Brg1-associated factor (BAF) chromatin remodeling complex in the endocardial lineage. Endocardial Brg1-deficient mouse embryos develop thickened and disorganized SLV cusps that frequently become bicuspid and myxomatous, including in surviving adults. These SLV disease-like phenotypes originate from deficient endocardial-to-mesenchymal transformation (EMT) in the proximal outflow tract (pOFT) cushions. The missing cells are replaced by compensating neural crest or other non-EMT-derived mesenchyme. However, these cells are incompetent to fully pattern the valve interstitium into distinct regions with specialized extracellular matrices. Transcriptomics reveal genes that may promote growth and patterning of SLVs and/or serve as disease-state biomarkers. Mechanistic studies of SLV disease genes should distinguish between disease origins and progression; the latter may reflect secondary responses to a disrupted developmental system.
Project description:Transforming growth factor beta2 (TGF?2) is a multifunctional protein which is expressed in several embryonic and adult organs. TGFB2 mutations can cause Loeys Dietz syndrome, and its dysregulation is involved in cardiovascular, skeletal, ocular, and neuromuscular diseases, osteoarthritis, tissue fibrosis, and various forms of cancer. TGF?2 is involved in cell growth, apoptosis, cell migration, cell differentiation, cell-matrix remodeling, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and wound healing in a highly context-dependent and tissue-specific manner. Tgfb2(-/-) mice die perinatally from congenital heart disease, precluding functional studies in adults. Here, we have generated mice harboring Tgfb2(?geo) (knockout-first lacZ-tagged insertion) gene-trap allele and Tgfb2(flox) conditional allele. Tgfb2(?geo/?geo) or Tgfb2(?geo/-) mice died at perinatal stage from the same congenital heart defects as Tgfb2(-/-) mice. ?-galactosidase staining successfully detected Tgfb2 expression in the heterozygous Tgfb2(?geo) fetal tissue sections. Tgfb2(flox) mice were produced by crossing the Tgfb2(+/?geo) mice with the FLPeR mice. Tgfb2(flox/-) mice were viable. Tgfb2 conditional knockout (Tgfb2(cko/-) ) fetuses were generated by crossing of Tgfb2(flox/-) mice with Tgfb2(+/-) ; EIIaCre mice. Systemic Tgfb2(cko/-) embryos developed cardiac defects which resembled the Tgfb2(?geo/?geo) , Tgfb2(?geo/-) , and Tgfb2(-/-) fetuses. In conclusion, Tgfb2(?geo) and Tgfb2(flox) mice are novel mouse strains which will be useful for investigating the tissue specific expression and function of TGF?2 in embryonic development, adult organs, and disease pathogenesis and cancer. genesis
Project description:Recent evidence suggests that extracellular matrix components may play a signaling role in embryonic valve development. We have previously identified the spatiotemporal expression patterns of periostin in developing valves, but its function during this process is largely unknown. To evaluate the functional role periostin plays during valvulogenesis, two separate three-dimensional culture assay systems, which model chick atrioventricular cushion development, were employed. These assays demonstrated that cushion mesenchymal cells adhered and spread on purified periostin in a dose-responsive manner, similar to collagen I and fibronectin via alpha(v)beta(3) and beta(1) integrin pairs. Periostin overexpression resulted in enhanced mesenchyme invasion through 3D collagen gels and increased matrix compaction. This invasion was dependent on alpha(v)beta(3) more than beta(1) integrin signaling, and was mediated differentially by Rho kinase and PI 3-kinase. Both matrix invasion and compaction were associated with a colocalization of periostin and beta(1) integrin expression to migratory cell phenotype in both surface and deep cells. The Rho/PI 3-kinase pathway also differentially mediated matrix compaction. Both Rho and PI 3-kinase were involved in normal cushion mesenchyme matrix compaction, but only PI 3-kinase was required for the enhanced matrix compaction due to periostin. Taken together, these results highlight periostin as a mediator of matrix remodeling by cushion mesenchyme towards a mature valve structure.
Project description:The signaling cross talk between the tracheal mesenchyme and epithelium has not been researched extensively, leaving a substantial gap of knowledge in the mechanisms dictating embryonic development of the proximal airways by the adjacent mesenchyme. Recently, we reported that embryos lacking mesenchymal expression of Sox9 did not develop tracheal cartilage rings and showed aberrant differentiation of the tracheal epithelium. Here, we propose that tracheal cartilage provides local inductive signals responsible for the proper differentiation, metabolism, and inflammatory status regulation of the tracheal epithelium. The tracheal epithelium of mesenchyme-specific Sox9?/? mutant embryos showed altered mRNA expression of various epithelial markers such as Pb1fa1, surfactant protein B (Sftpb), secretoglobulin, family 1A, member 1 (Scgb1a1), and trefoil factor 1 (Tff1). In vitro tracheal epithelial cell cultures confirmed that tracheal chondrocytes secrete factors that inhibit club cell differentiation. Whole gene expression profiling and ingenuity pathway analysis showed that the tumor necrosis factor-? (TNF-?), interferon-? (IFN-?), and transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?) signaling pathways were significantly altered in the Sox9 mutant trachea. TNF-? and IFN-? interfered with the differentiation of tracheal epithelial progenitor cells into mature epithelial cell types in vitro. Mesenchymal knockout of Tgf-?1 in vivo resulted in altered differentiation of the tracheal epithelium. Finally, mitochondrial enzymes involved in fat and glycogen metabolism, cytochrome c oxidase subunit VIIIb (Cox8b) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit VIIa polypeptide 1 (Cox7a1), were strongly upregulated in the Sox9 mutant trachea, resulting in increases in the number and size of glycogen storage vacuoles. Our results support a role for tracheal cartilage in modulation of the differentiation and metabolism and the expression of inflammatory-related genes in the tracheal epithelium by feeding into the TNF-?, IFN-?, and TGF-? signaling pathways.
Project description:Heart valves develop from precursor structures called cardiac cushions, an endothelial-lined cardiac jelly that resides in the inner side of the heart tube. The cushions are then invaded by cells from different sources, undergo a series of complicated and poorly understood remodeling processes, and give rise to valves. Disruption of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling axis impairs morphogenesis of the outflow tract (OFT). Yet, whether FGF signaling regulates OFT valve formation is unknown.To study how OFT valve formation is regulated and how aberrant cell signaling causes valve defects.By using mouse genetic manipulation, cell lineage tracing, ex vivo heart culture, and molecular biology approaches, we demonstrated that FGF signaling in the OFT myocardium upregulated Bmp4 expression, which then enhanced smooth muscle differentiation of neural crest cells (NCCs) in the cushion. FGF signaling also promoted OFT myocardial cell invasion to the cushion. Disrupting FGF signaling interrupted cushion remodeling with reduced NCCs differentiation into smooth muscle and less cardiomyocyte invasion and resulted in malformed OFT valves.The results demonstrate a novel mechanism by which the FGF-BMP signaling axis regulates formation of OFT valve primordia by controlling smooth muscle differentiation of cushion NCCs.
Project description:Cartilage Link Protein 1 (Crtl1) is an extracellular matrix (ECM) protein that stabilizes the interaction between hyaluronan and versican and is expressed in endocardial and endocardially-derived cells in the developing heart, including cells in the atrioventricular (AV) and outflow tract (OFT) cushions. Previous investigations into the transcriptional regulation of the Crtl1 gene have shown that Sox9 regulates Crtl1 expression in both cartilage and the AV valves. The cardiac transcription factor Mef2c is involved in the regulation of gene expression in cardiac and skeletal muscle cell lineages. In this study we have investigated the potential role of Mef2c in the regulation of ECM production in the endocardial and mesenchymal cell lineages of the developing heart. We demonstrate that the Crtl1 5' flanking region contains two highly conserved Mef2 binding sites and that Mef2c is able to bind to these sites in vivo during cardiovascular development. Additionally, we show that Crtl1 transcription is dependent on Mef2c expression in fetal mitral valve interstitial cells (VICs). Combined, these findings highlight a new role for Mef2c in cardiac development and the regulation of cardiac extracellular matrix protein expression.
Project description:Wnt signaling mediated by beta-catenin has been implicated in early endocardial cushion development, but its roles in later stages of heart valve maturation and homeostasis have not been identified. Multiple Wnt ligands and pathway genes are differentially expressed during heart valve development. At E12.5, Wnt2 is expressed in cushion mesenchyme, whereas Wnt4 and Wnt9b are predominant in overlying endothelial cells. At E17.5, both Wnt3a and Wnt7b are expressed in the remodeling atrioventricular (AV) and semilunar valves. In addition, the TOPGAL Wnt reporter transgene is active throughout the developing AV and semilunar valves at E16.5, with more localized expression in the stratified valve leaflets after birth. In chicken embryo aortic valves, genes characteristic of osteogenic cell lineages including periostin, osteonectin, and Id2 are expressed specifically in the collagen-rich fibrosa layer at E14. Treatment of E14 aortic valve interstitial cells (VICs) in culture with osteogenic media results in increased expression of multiple genes associated with bone formation. Treatment of VIC with Wnt3a leads to nuclear localization of beta-catenin and induction of periostin and matrix gla protein but does not induce genes associated with later stages of osteogenesis. Together, these studies provide evidence for Wnt signaling as a regulator of endocardial cushion maturation as well as valve leaflet stratification, homeostasis, and pathogenesis.