Cooperative binding of KLF4, pELK-1, and HDAC2 to a G/C repressor element in the SM22? promoter mediates transcriptional silencing during SMC phenotypic switching in vivo.
ABSTRACT: We previously identified conserved G/C Repressor elements in the promoters of most smooth muscle cell (SMC) marker genes and demonstrated that mutation of this element within the SM22? promoter nearly abrogated repression of this transgene after vascular wire injury or within lesions of ApoE-/- mice. However, the mechanisms regulating the activity of the G/C Repressor are unknown, although we have previously shown that phenotypic switching of cultured SMC is dependent on Krupple-like factor (KLF)4.The goals of the present studies were to ascertain if (1) injury-induced repression of SM22? gene after vascular injury is mediated through KLF4 binding to the G/C Repressor element and (2) the transcriptional repressor activity of KLF4 on SMC marker genes is dependent on cooperative binding with pELK-1 (downstream activator of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway) and subsequent recruitment of histone de-acetylase 2 (HDAC2), which mediates epigenetic gene silencing.Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays were performed on chromatin derived from carotid arteries of mice having either a wild-type or G/C Repressor mutant SM22? promoter-LacZ transgene. KLF4 and pELK-1 binding to the SM22? promoter was markedly increased after vascular injury and was G/C Repressor dependent. Sequential ChIP assays and proximity ligation analyses in cultured SMC treated with platelet-derived growth factor BB or oxidized phospholipids showed formation of a KLF4, pELK-1, and HDAC2 multiprotein complex dependent on the SM22? G/C Repressor element.Silencing of SMC marker genes during phenotypic switching is partially mediated by sequential binding of pELK-1 and KLF4 to G/C Repressor elements. The pELK-1-KLF4 complex in turn recruits HDAC2, leading to reduced histone acetylation and epigenetic silencing.
Project description:Hyperphosphatemia in chronic kidney disease is highly associated with vascular calcification. Previous studies have shown that high phosphate-induced phenotypic switching of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) into osteogenic cells plays an important role in the calcification process. In the present study, we determined whether Krüppel-like factor 4 (Klf4) and phosphorylated Elk-1, transcriptional repressors of SMC differentiation marker genes activated by intimal atherogenic stimuli, contributed to this process. Rat aortic SMCs were cultured in the medium with normal (0.9 mmol/liter) or high (4.5 mmol/liter) phosphate concentration. Results showed that high phosphate concentration induced SMC calcification. Moreover, high phosphate decreased expression of SMC differentiation marker genes including smooth muscle ?-actin and SM22?, whereas it increased expression of osteogenic genes, such as Runx2 and osteopontin. High phosphate also induced Klf4 expression, although it did not phosphorylate Elk-1. In response to high phosphate, Klf4 selectively bound to the promoter regions of SMC differentiation marker genes. Of importance, siRNA-mediated knockdown of Klf4 blunted high phosphate-induced suppression of SMC differentiation marker genes, as well as increases in expression of osteogenic genes and calcium deposition. Klf4 was also induced markedly in the calcified aorta of adenine-induced uremic rats. Results provide novel evidence that Klf4 mediates high phosphate-induced conversion of SMCs into osteogenic cells.
Project description:Phenotypic switching of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) plays a key role in vascular proliferative diseases. We previously showed that Krüppel-like factor 4 (Klf4) suppressed SMC differentiation markers in cultured SMCs. Here, we derive mice deficient for Klf4 by conditional gene ablation and analyze their vascular phenotype following carotid injury. Klf4 expression was rapidly induced in SMCs of control mice after vascular injury but not in Klf4-deficient mice. Injury-induced repression of SMC differentiation markers was transiently delayed in Klf4-deficient mice. Klf4 mutant mice exhibited enhanced neointimal formation in response to vascular injury caused by increased cellular proliferation in the media but not an altered apoptotic rate. Consistent with these findings, cultured SMCs overexpressing Klf4 showed reduced cellular proliferation, in part, through the induction of the cell cycle inhibitor, p21(WAF1/Cip1) via increased binding of Klf4 and p53 to the p21(WAF1/Cip1) promoter/enhancer. In vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation assays also showed increased Klf4 binding to the promoter/enhancer regions of the p21(WAF1/Cip1) gene and SMC differentiation marker genes following vascular injury. Taken together, we have demonstrated that Klf4 plays a critical role in regulating expression of SMC differentiation markers and proliferation of SMCs in vivo in response to vascular injury.
Project description:Our previous study has shown that yes-associated protein (YAP) plays a crucial role in the phenotypic modulation of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) in response to arterial injury. However, the role of YAP in vascular SMC development is unknown.The goal of this study was to investigate the functional role of YAP in cardiovascular development in mice and determine the mechanisms underlying YAP's actions.YAP was deleted in cardiomyocytes and vascular SMCs by crossing YAP flox mice with SM22?-Cre transgenic mice. Cardiac/SMC-specific deletion of YAP directed by SM22?-Cre resulted in perinatal lethality in mice because of profound cardiac defects including hypoplastic myocardium, membranous ventricular septal defect, and double outlet right ventricle. The cardiac/SMC-specific YAP knockout mice also displayed severe vascular abnormalities including hypoplastic arterial wall, short/absent brachiocephalic artery, and retroesophageal right subclavian artery. Deletion of YAP in mouse vascular SMCs induced expression of a subset of cell cycle arrest genes including G-protein-coupled receptor 132 (Gpr132). Silencing Gpr132 promoted SMC proliferation, whereas overexpression of Gpr132 attenuated SMC growth by arresting cell cycle in G0/G1 phase, suggesting that ablation of YAP-induced impairment of SMC proliferation was mediated, at least in part, by induction of Gpr132 expression. Mechanistically, YAP recruited the epigenetic repressor histone deacetylase-4 to suppress Gpr132 gene expression via a muscle CAT element in the Gpr132 gene.YAP plays a critical role in cardiac/SMC proliferation during cardiovascular development by epigenetically regulating expression of a set of cell cycle suppressors.
Project description:Interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8), a member of the IRF transcription factor family, was recently implicated in vascular diseases. In the present study, using the mouse left carotid artery wire injury model, we unexpectedly observed that the expression of IRF8 was greatly enhanced in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) by injury. Compared with the wild-type controls, IRF8 global knockout mice exhibited reduced neointimal lesions and maintained SMC marker gene expression. We further generated SMC-specific IRF8 transgenic mice using an SM22?-driven IRF8 plasmid construct. In contrast to the knockout mice, mice with SMC-overexpressing IRF8 exhibited a synthetic phenotype and enhanced neointima formation. Mechanistically, IRF8 inhibited SMC marker gene expression through regulating serum response factor (SRF) transactivation in a myocardin-dependent manner. Furthermore, a coimmunoprecipitation assay indicated a direct interaction of IRF8 with myocardin, in which a specific region of myocardin was essential for recruiting acetyltransferase p300. Altogether, IRF8 is crucial in modulating SMC phenotype switching and neointima formation in response to vascular injury via direct interaction with the SRF/myocardin complex.
Project description:Vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) have been broadly used for constructing tissue-engineered blood vessels. However, the availability of mature SMCs from donors or patients is very limited. Derivation of SMCs by differentiating embryonic stem cells (ESCs) has been reported, but not widely utilized in vascular tissue engineering due to low induction efficiency and, hence, low SMC purity. To address these problems, SMCs were enriched from retinoic acid induced mouse ESCs with LacZ genetic labeling under the control of SM22? promoter as the positive sorting marker in the present study. The sorted SMCs were characterized and then cultured on three-dimensional macro-porous nano-fibrous scaffolds in vitro or implanted subcutaneously into nude mice after being seeded on the scaffolds. Our data showed that the LacZ staining, which reflected the corresponding SMC marker SM22? expression level, was efficient as a positive selection marker to dramatically enrich SMCs and eliminate other cell types. After the sorted cells were seeded into the three-dimensional nano-fibrous scaffolds, continuous retinoic acid treatment further enhanced the SMC marker gene expression level while inhibited pluripotent maker gene expression level during the in vitro culture. Meanwhile, after being implanted subcutaneously into nude mice, the implanted cells maintained the positive LacZ staining within the constructs and no teratoma formation was observed. In conclusion, our results demonstrated the potential of SMCs derived from ESCs as a promising cell source for therapeutic vascular tissue engineering and disease model applications.
Project description:Yin Yang 1 (YY1) regulates gene transcription in a variety of biological processes. In this study, we aim to determine the role of YY1 in vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotypic modulation both in vivo and in vitro. Here we show that vascular injury in rodent carotid arteries induces YY1 expression along with reduced expression of smooth muscle differentiation markers in the carotids. Consistent with this finding, YY1 expression is induced in differentiated VSMCs in response to serum stimulation. To determine the underlying molecular mechanisms, we found that YY1 suppresses the transcription of CArG box-dependent SMC-specific genes including SM22?, SM?-actin and SMMHC. Interestingly, YY1 suppresses the transcriptional activity of the SM22? promoter by hindering the binding of serum response factor (SRF) to the proximal CArG box. YY1 also suppresses the transcription and the transactivation of myocardin (MYOCD), a master regulator for SMC-specific gene transcription by binding to SRF to form the MYOCD/SRF/CArG box triad (known as the ternary complex). Mechanistically, YY1 directly interacts with MYOCD to competitively displace MYOCD from SRF. This is the first evidence showing that YY1 inhibits SMC differentiation by directly targeting MYOCD. These findings provide new mechanistic insights into the regulatory mechanisms that govern SMC phenotypic modulation in the pathogenesis of vascular diseases.
Project description:TGFbeta and proliferation/phenotypic switching of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) play a pivotal role in pathogenesis of atherosclerotic and restenotic lesions after angioplasty. We have previously shown that the protein inhibitor of activated STAT (PIAS)1 activates expression of SMC differentiation marker genes including smooth muscle (SM) alpha-actin by interacting with serum response factor (SRF) and class I bHLH proteins. Here, we tested the hypothesis that TGFbeta activates SM alpha-actin through PIAS1.An siRNA specific for PIAS1 and ubc9, an E2-ligase for sumoylation, inhibited TGFbeta-induced expression of SM alpha-actin in cultured SMCs as determined by real-time RT-PCR. Overexpression of PIAS1 increased SM alpha-actin promoter activity in a TGFbeta control element (TCE)-dependent manner. Because the TCE within the SM alpha-actin promoter could mediate repression through interaction with KLF4, we tested whether PIAS1 regulates the function of KLF4 for SMC gene expression. PIAS1 interacted with KLF4 in mammalian two-hybrid and coimmunoprecipitation assays, and overexpression of PIAS1 inhibited KLF4-repression of SM alpha-actin promoter activity. Moreover, PIAS1 promoted degradation of KLF4 through sumoylation.These results provide evidence that PIAS1 promotes TGFbeta-induced activation of SM alpha-actin gene expression at least in part by promoting sumoylation and degradation of the TCE repressor protein, KLF4.
Project description:During vascular injury, vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and fibroblasts/myofibroblasts (FBs/MFBs) are exposed to altered luminal blood flow or transmural interstitial flow. We investigate the effects of these two types of fluid flows on the phenotypes of SMCs and MFBs and the underlying mechanotransduction mechanisms.Exposure to 8 dyn/cm(2) laminar flow shear stress (2-dimensional, 2-D) for 15 h significantly reduced expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), smooth muscle protein 22 (SM22), SM myosin heavy chain (SM-MHC), smoothelin, and calponin. Cells suspended in collagen gels were exposed to interstitial flow (1 cmH(2)O, approximately 0.05 dyn/cm(2), 3-D), and after 6 h of exposure, expression of SM-MHC, smoothelin, and calponin were significantly reduced, while expression of alpha-SMA and SM22 were markedly enhanced. PD98059 (an ERK1/2 inhibitor) and heparinase III (an enzyme to cleave heparan sulfate) significantly blocked the effects of laminar flow on gene expression, and also reversed the effects of interstitial flow on SM-MHC, smoothelin, and calponin, but enhanced interstitial flow-induced expression of alpha-SMA and SM22. SMCs and MFBs have similar responses to fluid flow. Silencing ERK1/2 completely blocked the effects of both laminar flow and interstitial flow on SMC marker gene expression. Western blotting showed that both types of flows induced ERK1/2 activation that was inhibited by disruption of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs).The results suggest that HSPG-mediated ERK1/2 activation is an important mechanotransduction pathway modulating SMC marker gene expression when SMCs and MFBs are exposed to flow. Fluid flow may be involved in vascular remodeling and lesion formation by affecting phenotypes of vascular wall cells. This study has implications in understanding the flow-related mechanobiology in vascular lesion formation, tumor cell invasion, and stem cell differentiation.
Project description:Smooth muscle cell (SMC) differentiation and proliferation occur simultaneously during embryonic development. The underlying mechanisms especially common factors regulating both processes, however, remain largely unknown. The present study has identified cell division cycle 7 (Cdc7) as one of the factors mediating both the proliferation and SMC differentiation. TGF-? induces Cdc7 expression and phosphorylation in the initial phase of SMC differentiation of pluripotent mesenchymal C3H10T1/2 cells. Cdc7 specific inhibitor or shRNA knockdown suppresses TGF-?-induced expression of SMC early markers including ?-SMA, SM22?, and calponin. Cdc7 overexpression, on the other hand, enhances SMC marker expression. Cdc7 function in inducing SMC differentiation is independent of Dumbbell former 4 or Dbf4, the catalytic subunit of Cdc7 critical for cell proliferation, suggesting that Cdc7 mediates SMC differentiation through a mechanism distinct from cell proliferation. Cdc7 regulates SMC differentiation via activating SMC marker gene transcription. Knockdown of Cdc7 by shRNA inhibits SMC marker gene promoter activities. Mechanistically, Cdc7 interacts with Smad3 to induce SMC differentiation. Smad3 is required for Cdc7 function in inducing SMC promoter activities and marker gene expression. Likewise, Cdc7 enhances Smad3 binding to SMC marker promoter via supporting Smad3 nuclear retention and physically interacting with Smad3. Taken together, our studies have demonstrated a novel role of Cdc7 in SMC differentiation.
Project description:Recent smooth muscle cell (SMC) lineage-tracing studies have revealed that SMCs undergo remarkable changes in phenotype during development of atherosclerosis. Of major interest, we demonstrated that Kruppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) in SMCs is detrimental for overall lesion pathogenesis, in that SMC-specific conditional knockout of the KLF4 gene ( Klf4) resulted in smaller, more-stable lesions that exhibited marked reductions in the numbers of SMC-derived macrophage- and mesenchymal stem cell-like cells. However, since the clinical consequences of atherosclerosis typically occur well after our reproductive years, we sought to identify beneficial KLF4-dependent SMC functions that were likely to be evolutionarily conserved. We tested the hypothesis that KLF4-dependent SMC transitions play an important role in the tissue injury-repair process. Using SMC-specific lineage-tracing mice positive and negative for simultaneous SMC-specific conditional knockout of Klf4, we demonstrate that SMCs in the remodeling heart after ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) express KLF4 and transition to a KLF4-dependent macrophage-like state and a KLF4-independent myofibroblast-like state. Moreover, heart failure after IRI was exacerbated in SMC Klf4 knockout mice. Surprisingly, we observed a significant cardiac dilation in SMC Klf4 knockout mice before IRI as well as a reduction in peripheral resistance. KLF4 chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing analysis on mesenteric vascular beds identified potential baseline SMC KLF4 target genes in numerous pathways, including PDGF and FGF. Moreover, microvascular tissue beds in SMC Klf4 knockout mice had gaps in lineage-traced SMC coverage along the resistance arteries and exhibited increased permeability. Together, these results provide novel evidence that Klf4 has a critical maintenance role within microvascular SMCs: it is required for normal SMC function and coverage of resistance arteries. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We report novel evidence that the Kruppel-like factor 4 gene ( Klf4) has a critical maintenance role within microvascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs). SMC-specific Klf4 knockout at baseline resulted in a loss of lineage-traced SMC coverage of resistance arteries, dilation of resistance arteries, increased blood flow, and cardiac dilation.