[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Variants in SCN10A, which encodes a voltage-gated sodium channel, are associated with alterations of cardiac conduction parameters and the cardiac rhythm disorder Brugada syndrome; however, it is unclear how SCN10A variants promote dysfunctional cardiac conduction. Here we showed by high-resolution 4C-seq analysis of the Scn10a-Scn5a locus in murine heart tissue that a cardiac enhancer located in Scn10a, encompassing SCN10A functional variant rs6801957, interacts with the promoter of Scn5a, a sodium channel-encoding gene that is critical for cardiac conduction. We observed that SCN5A transcript levels were several orders of magnitude higher than SCN10A transcript levels in both adult human and mouse heart tissue. Analysis of BAC transgenic mouse strains harboring an engineered deletion of the enhancer within Scn10a revealed that the enhancer was essential for Scn5a expression in cardiac tissue. Furthermore, the common SCN10A variant rs6801957 modulated Scn5a expression in the heart. In humans, the SCN10A variant rs6801957, which correlated with slowed conduction, was associated with reduced SCN5A expression. These observations establish a genomic mechanism for how a common genetic variation at SCN10A influences cardiac physiology and predisposes to arrhythmia.
The Journal of clinical investigation 03/2014; · 15.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transcriptome is subject to multiple changes during pathogenesis, including the use of alternate 5' start-sites that can affect transcription levels and output. Current RNA sequencing techniques can assess mRNA levels, but do not robustly detect changes in 5' start-site use. Here, we developed a transcriptome sequencing strategy that detects genome-wide changes in start-site usage (5'RNA-Seq) and applied this methodology to identify regulatory events that occur in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Compared with transcripts from WT mice, 92 genes had altered start-site usage in a mouse model of HCM, including four-and-a-half LIM domains protein 1 (Fhl1). HCM-induced altered transcriptional regulation of Fhl1 resulted in robust myocyte expression of a distinct protein isoform, a response that was conserved in humans with genetic or acquired cardiomyopathies. Genetic ablation of Fhl1 in HCM mice was deleterious, which suggests that Fhl1 transcriptional changes provide salutary effects on stressed myocytes in this disease. Because Fhl1 is a chromosome X-encoded gene, stress-induced changes in its transcription may contribute to gender differences in the clinical severity of HCM. Our findings indicate that 5'RNA-Seq has the potential to identify genome-wide changes in 5' start-site usage that are associated with pathogenic phenotypes.
The Journal of clinical investigation 02/2014; · 15.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiomyopathies are a heterogeneous group of heart muscle diseases associated with heart failure, arrhythmias, and death. Genetic variation has a critical role in the pathogenesis of cardiomyopathies, and numerous single-gene mutations have been associated with distinctive cardiomyopathy phenotypes. Contemporaneously with these discoveries, there has been enormous growth of genome-wide sequencing studies in large populations, data that show extensive genomic variation within every individual. The considerable allelic diversity in cardiomyopathy genes and in genes predicted to impact clinical expression of disease mutations indicates the need for a more nuanced interpretation of single-gene mutation in cardiomyopathies. These findings highlight the need to find new ways to interpret the functional significance of suites of genetic variants, as well as the need for new disease models that take global genetic variant burdens, epigenetic factors, and cardiac environmental factors into account.
Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine. 01/2014; 4(1).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two distinct alleles in the gene encoding apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1), a major component of HDL, confer protection against Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense infection and also increase risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD). Approximately 14% of African-Americans carry two APOL1 risk alleles, accounting for the high CKD burden in this population.
We tested whether APOL1 risk alleles significantly increase risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) in African-Americans.
We sequenced APOL1 in 1959 randomly selected African American participants in the Jackson Heart Study (JHS) and evaluated associations between APOL1 genotypes and renal and cardiovascular phenotypes. Previously identified association between APOL1 genotypes and CKD were confirmed (p=2.4 x 10-6). Among JHS participants with two APOL1 risk alleles, we observed increased risk for CVD (50/763 events among participants without vs. 37/280 events among participants with two risk alleles; odds ratio (OR): 2.17, p=9.4 x 10-4). We replicated this novel association of APOL1 genotype with CVD in Women's Health Initiative (WHI) participants (66/292 events among participants without vs. 37/101 events among participants with two risk alleles; OR: 1.98, p=8.37 x 10-3; JHS and WHI combined, p=8.5 x 10-5; OR: 2.12). The increased risk for CVD conferred by APOL1 alleles was robust to correction for both traditional CVD risk factors and CKD.
APOL1 variants contribute to atherosclerotic CVD risk, indicating a genetic component to cardiovascular health disparities in individuals of African ancestry. The considerable population of African Americans with two APOL1 risk alleles may benefit from intensive interventions to reduce CVD.
Circulation Research 12/2013; · 11.86 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: -Integrin-linked kinase (ILK) is a serine-threonine kinase that has been linked to human and experimental heart failure, but its role in the heart is not fully understood.
-To define the role of cardiomyocyte ILK, we generated cardiac-specific ILK knockout mice (CSILK-KO) using α-MHC-driven Cre expression. CSILK-KO spontaneously developed lethal dilated cardiomyopathy and heart failure with an early increase in apoptosis, fibrosis, and cardiac inflammation. To identify downstream effectors, we used deep sequence analysis of gene expression (DSAGE) to compare comprehensive transcriptional profiles of CSILK-KO and WT hearts from 10 day old mice before the development of cardiac dysfunction. ~2x10(6) cDNA clones from each genotype were sequenced, corresponding to 33,274 independent transcripts. 93 genes were altered, using nominal thresholds of >1.4-fold change and p<0.001. The most highly upregulated gene was osteopontin (47-fold increase, p=9.6x10(-45)), an inflammatory chemokine implicated in heart failure pathophysiology. ILK also regulated osteopontin expression in cardiomyocytes in vitro. Importantly, blocking antibodies to osteopontin mitigated but did not fully rescue the functional decline in CSILK-KO mice.
-Cardiomyocyte-specific ILK deletion leads to a lethal cardiomyopathy characterized by cardiomyocyte death, fibrosis, and inflammation. Comprehensive profiling identifies ILK-dependent transcriptional effects and implicates osteopontin as a contributor to these phenotypes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome sequencing can identify individuals in the general population who harbor rare coding variants in genes for Mendelian disorders and who may consequently have increased disease risk. Previous studies of rare variants in phenotypically extreme individuals display ascertainment bias and may demonstrate inflated effect-size estimates. We sequenced seven genes for maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) in well-phenotyped population samples (n = 4,003). We filtered rare variants according to two prediction criteria for disease-causing mutations: reported previously in MODY or satisfying stringent de novo thresholds (rare, conserved and protein damaging). Approximately 1.5% and 0.5% of randomly selected individuals from the Framingham and Jackson Heart Studies, respectively, carry variants from these two classes. However, the vast majority of carriers remain euglycemic through middle age. Accurate estimates of variant effect sizes from population-based sequencing are needed to avoid falsely predicting a substantial fraction of individuals as being at risk for MODY or other Mendelian diseases.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dominant mutations in sarcomere proteins such as the myosin heavy chains (MHC) are the leading genetic causes of human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and dilated cardiomyopathy. We found that expression of the HCM-causing cardiac MHC gene (Myh6) R403Q mutation in mice can be selectively silenced by an RNA interference (RNAi) cassette delivered by an adeno-associated virus vector. RNAi-transduced MHC(403/+) mice developed neither hypertrophy nor myocardial fibrosis, the pathologic manifestations of HCM, for at least 6 months. Because inhibition of HCM was achieved by only a 25% reduction in the levels of the mutant transcripts, we suggest that the variable clinical phenotype in HCM patients reflects allele-specific expression and that partial silencing of mutant transcripts may have therapeutic benefit.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network has profiled and analyzed large numbers of human tumors to discover molecular aberrations at the DNA, RNA, protein and epigenetic levels. The resulting rich data provide a major opportunity to develop an integrated picture of commonalities, differences and emergent themes across tumor lineages. The Pan-Cancer initiative compares the first 12 tumor types profiled by TCGA. Analysis of the molecular aberrations and their functional roles across tumor types will teach us how to extend therapies effective in one cancer type to others with a similar genomic profile.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Humans and genetically engineered mice with recessively inherited CPVT develop arrhythmia which may arise due to malfunction or degradation of calsequestrin (CASQ2). We investigated the relation between protein level and arrhythmia severity in CASQ2D307H/D307H (D307H), compared to CASQ2Δ/Δ (KO) and wild type (WT) mice. CASQ2 expression and Ca(2+) transients were recorded in cardiomyocytes from neonatal or adult mice. Arrhythmia was studied in vivo using heart rhythm telemetry at rest, exercise and after epinephrine injection. CASQ2 protein was absent in KO heart. Neonatal D307H and WT hearts expressed significantly less CASQ2 protein than the level found in the adult WT. Adult D307H expressed only 20% of CASQ2 protein found in WT. Spontaneous Ca(2+) release was more prevalent in neonatal KO cardiomyocytes (89%) compared to 33-36% of either WT or D307H respectively, p<0.001. Adult cardiomyocytes from both mutant mice had more Ca(2+) abnormalities compared to control (KO: 82%, D307H 63%, WT 12%, p<0.01). Calcium oscillations were most common in KO cardiomyocytes. We then treated mice with bortezomib to inhibit CASQ2D307H degradation. Bortezomib increased CASQ2 expression in D307H hearts by ∼50% (p<0.05). Bortezomib-treated D307H mice had lower CPVT prevalence and less premature ventricular beats during peak exercise. No benefit against arrhythmia was observed in bortezomib treated KO mice. These results indicate that the mutant CASQ2D307H protein retains some of its physiological function. Its expression decreases with age and is inversely related to arrhythmia severity. Preventing the degradation of mutant protein should be explored as a possible therapeutic strategy in appropriate CPVT2 patients.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent human genetic studies have provided evidences that sporadic or inherited missense mutations in four-and-a-half LIM domain protein 1 (FHL1), resulting in alterations in FHL1 protein expression, are associated with rare congenital myopathies, including reducing body myopathy and Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy. However, it remains to be clarified whether mutations in FHL1 cause skeletal muscle remodeling owing to gain- or loss- of FHL1 function. In this study, we used FHL1-null mice lacking global FHL1 expression to evaluate loss of function effects on skeletal muscle homeostasis. Histological and functional analyses of soleus, tibialis anterior, and sternohyoideus muscles demonstrated that FHL1-null mice develop an age-dependent myopathy associated with myofibrillar and intermyofibrillar (mitochondrial and sarcoplasmic reticulum) disorganization, impaired muscle oxidative capacity and increased autophagic activity. A longitudinal study established decreased survival rates in FHL1-null mice, associated with age-dependent impairment of muscle contractile function and a significantly lower exercise capacity. Analysis of primary myoblasts isolated from FHL1-null muscles demonstrated early muscle fiber differentiation and maturation defects, which could be rescued by re-expression of the FHL1A isoform, highlighting that FHL1A is necessary for proper muscle fiber differentiation and maturation in vitro. Overall, our data show that loss of FHL1 function leads to myopathy in vivo and suggest that loss of function of FHL1 may be one of the mechanisms underlying muscle dystrophy in patients with FHL1 mutations.
Human Molecular Genetics 08/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microtia is a rare, congenital malformation of the external ear that in some cases has a genetic etiology. We ascertained a three-generation family with bilateral microtia and hearing loss segregating as an autosomal dominant trait. Exome sequencing of affected family members detected only seven shared, rare, heterozygous, nonsynonymous variants, including one protein truncating variant, a HOXA2 nonsense change (c.703C>T, p.Q235*). The HOXA2 variant segregated with microtia and hearing loss in the family and was not seen in 6,500 individuals sequenced by the NHLBI Exome Sequencing Project or in 218 control individuals sequenced in this study. HOXA2 has been shown to be critical for outer and middle ear development through mouse models and has previously been associated with autosomal recessive bilateral microtia. Our data extends these conclusions and defines HOXA2 haploinsufficiency as the first genetic cause for autosomal dominant nonsyndromic microtia. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most frequent birth defect, affecting 0.8% of live births. Many cases occur sporadically and impair reproductive fitness, suggesting a role for de novo mutations. Here we compare the incidence of de novo mutations in 362 severe CHD cases and 264 controls by analysing exome sequencing of parent-offspring trios. CHD cases show a significant excess of protein-altering de novo mutations in genes expressed in the developing heart, with an odds ratio of 7.5 for damaging (premature termination, frameshift, splice site) mutations. Similar odds ratios are seen across the main classes of severe CHD. We find a marked excess of de novo mutations in genes involved in the production, removal or reading of histone 3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methylation, or ubiquitination of H2BK120, which is required for H3K4 methylation. There are also two de novo mutations in SMAD2, which regulates H3K27 methylation in the embryonic left-right organizer. The combination of both activating (H3K4 methylation) and inactivating (H3K27 methylation) chromatin marks characterizes 'poised' promoters and enhancers, which regulate expression of key developmental genes. These findings implicate de novo point mutations in several hundreds of genes that collectively contribute to approximately 10% of severe CHD.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: -The transcription factor NKX2-5 is crucial for heart development and mutations in this gene have been implicated in diverse congenital heart diseases (CHD) and conduction defects (CD) in mouse models and humans. Whether NKX2-5 mutations have a role in adult-onset heart disease is unknown. METHODS AND RESULTS: -Mutation screening was performed in 220 probands with adult-onset dilated cardiomypathy (DCM). Six NKX2-5 coding sequence variants were identified, including 3 non-synonymous variants. A novel heterozygous mutation, I184M, located within the NKX2-5 homeodomain (HD), was identified in one family. A subset of family members had CHD, but there was an unexpectedly high prevalence of DCM. Functional analysis of I184M in vitro demonstrated a striking increase in protein expression when transfected into COS-7 cells or HL-1 cardiomyocytes, due to reduced degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). In functional assays, DNA binding activity of I184M was reduced, resulting in impaired activation of target genes, despite increased expression levels of mutant protein. CONCLUSIONS: -Certain NKX2-5 HD mutations show abnormal protein degradation via the UPS and partially impaired transcriptional activity. We propose that this class of mutation can impair heart development and mature heart function, and contribute to NKX2-5-related cardiomyopathies with graded severity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Valvular Interstitial Cells (VICs) are a common substrate for congenital and adult heart disease yet the signaling mechanisms governing their formation during early valvulogenesis are incompletely understood. We developed an unbiased strategy to identify genes important in endocardial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transformation (EMT) using a spatial transcriptional profile. Endocardial cells overlaying the cushions of the atrioventricular canal (AVC) and outflow tract (OFT) undergo an EMT to yield VICs. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis of gene expression between AVC, OFT, and ventricles (VEN) isolated from chick and mouse embryos at comparable stages of development (chick HH18; mouse E11.0) was performed. EMT occurs in the AVC and OFT cushions, but not VEN at this time. 198 genes in the chick (n=1) and 105 genes in the mouse (n=2) were enriched 2-fold in the cushions. Gene regulatory networks (GRN) generated from cushion-enriched gene lists confirmed TGFβ as a nodal point and identified NF-κB as a potential node. To reveal previously unrecognized regulators of EMT four candidate genes, Hapln1, Id1, Foxp2, and Meis2, and a candidate pathway, NF-κB, were selected. In vivo spatial expression of each gene was confirmed by in situ hybridization and a functional role for each in endocardial EMT was determined by siRNA knockdown in a collagen gel assay. Our spatial-transcriptional profiling strategy yielded gene lists which reflected the known biology of the system. Further analysis accurately identified and validated previously unrecognized novel candidate genes and the NF-κB pathway as regulators of endocardial cell EMT in vitro.
Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 04/2013; · 5.15 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histone modifications are now well-established mediators of transcriptional programs that distinguish cell states. However, the kinetics of histone modification and their role in mediating rapid, signal-responsive gene expression changes has been little studied on a genome-wide scale. Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA), a major regulator of angiogenesis, triggers changes in transcriptional activity of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Here we used chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) to measure genome-wide changes in histone H3 acetylation at lysine 27 (H3K27ac), a marker of active enhancers, in unstimulated HUVECs and HUVECs stimulated with VEGFA for 1, 4, and 12 hours. We show that sites with the greatest H3K27ac change upon stimulation were associated tightly with EP300, a histone acetyltransferase. Using the variation of H3K27ac as a novel epigenetic signature, we identified transcriptional regulatory elements that are functionally linked to angiogenesis, participate in rapid VEGFA-stimulated changes in chromatin conformation, and mediate VEGFA-induced transcriptional responses. Dynamic H3K27ac deposition and associated changes in chromatin conformation required EP300 activity instead of altered nucleosome occupancy or changes in DNase I hypersensitivity. EP300 activity was also required for a subset of dynamic H3K27ac sites to loop into proximity of promoters. Our study identified thousands of endothelial, VEGFA-responsive enhancers, demonstrating that an epigenetic signature based on the variation of a chromatin feature is a productive approach to define signal-responsive genomic elements. Further, our study implicates global epigenetic modifications in rapid, signal-responsive transcriptional regulation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common congenital anomaly in newborn babies. Cardiac malformations have been produced in multiple experimental animal models, by perturbing selected molecules that function in the developmental pathways involved in myocyte specification, differentiation, or cardiac morphogenesis. In contrast, the precise genetic, epigenetic, or environmental basis for these perturbations in humans remains poorly understood. Over the past few decades, researchers have tried to bridge this knowledge gap through conventional genome-wide analyses of rare Mendelian CHD families, and by sequencing candidate genes in CHD cohorts. Although yielding few, usually highly penetrant, disease gene mutations, these discoveries provided 3 notable insights. First, human CHD mutations impact a heterogeneous set of molecules that orchestrate cardiac development. Second, CHD mutations often alter gene/protein dosage. Third, identical pathogenic CHD mutations cause a variety of distinct malformations, implying that higher order interactions account for particular CHD phenotypes. The advent of contemporary genomic technologies including single nucleotide polymorphism arrays, next-generation sequencing, and copy number variant platforms are accelerating the discovery of genetic causes of CHD. Importantly, these approaches enable study of sporadic cases, the most common presentation of CHD. Emerging results from ongoing genomic efforts have validated earlier observations learned from the monogenic CHD families. In this review, we explore how continued use of these technologies and integration of systems biology is expected to expand our understanding of the genetic architecture of CHD.
Circulation Research 02/2013; 112(4):707-20. · 11.86 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease characterized by dilation of the ventricular chambers and reduced contractile function. We examined the contractile performance of chemically-skinned ventricular strips from two heterozygous murine models of DCM-causing missense mutations of myosin, F764L/+ and S532P/+, in an α-myosin heavy chain (MyHC) background. In Ca(2+)-activated skinned myocardial strips, the maximum developed tension in F764L/+ was only ~50% that of litter-mate controls (+/+). The F764L/+ also exhibited significantly reduced rigor stiffness, loaded shortening velocity and power output. Corresponding indices for S532P/+ strips were not different from controls. Manipulation of MgATP concentration in conjunction with measures of viscoelasticity, which provides estimates of myosin detachment rate 2πc, allowed us to probe the molecular basis of changes in crossbridge kinetics that occur with the myosin mutations. By examining the response of detachment rate to varying MgATP we found the rate of MgADP release was unaffected by the myosin mutations. However, MgATP binding rate was higher in the DCM groups compared to controls (422±109 mM(-1).s(-1) in F764L/+, 483±74 mM(-1).s(-1) in S532P/+ and 303±18 mM(-1).s(-1) in +/+). In addition, the rate constant of force development, 2πb, was significantly higher in DCM groups compared to controls (at 5 mM MgATP: 36.9±4.9 s(-1) in F764L/+, 32.9±4.5 s(-1) in S532P/+ and 18.2±1.7 s(-1) in +/+). These results suggest that elevated rates of force development and MgATP binding are features of cardiac myofilament function that underlie the development of DCM.
Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 01/2013; · 5.15 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat in the HTT gene encoding huntingtin. The disease has an insidious course, typically progressing over 10-15 years until death. Currently there is no effective disease-modifying therapy. To better understand the HD pathogenic process we have developed genetic HTT CAG knock-in mouse models that accurately recapitulate the HD mutation in man. Here, we describe results of a broad, standardized phenotypic screen in 10-46 week old heterozygous HdhQ111 knock-in mice, probing a wide range of physiological systems. The results of this screen revealed a number of behavioral abnormalities in HdhQ111/+ mice that include hypoactivity, decreased anxiety, motor learning and coordination deficits, and impaired olfactory discrimination. The screen also provided evidence supporting subtle cardiovascular, lung, and plasma metabolite alterations. Importantly, our results reveal that a single mutant HTT allele in the mouse is sufficient to elicit multiple phenotypic abnormalities, consistent with a dominant disease process in patients. These data provide a starting point for further investigation of several organ systems in HD, for the dissection of underlying pathogenic mechanisms and for the identification of reliable phenotypic endpoints for therapeutic testing.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e80923. · 3.73 Impact Factor