Disease-related growth factor and embryonic signaling pathways modulate an enhancer of TCF21 expression at the 6q23.2 coronary heart disease locus
Miller CL, Anderson DR, Kundu RK, Raiesdana A, Nürnberg ST, Diaz R, Cheng K, Leeper NJ, Chen CH, Chang IS, Schadt EE, Hsiung CA, Assimes TL, Quertermous T
Cells used in publication:
SMC, coronary artery, human (CASMC)
Tissue Origin: artery
Smooth Muscle Growth Medium-2
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of mortality in both developed and developing countries worldwide. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have now identified 46 independent susceptibility loci for CHD, however, the biological and disease-relevant mechanisms for these associations remain elusive. The large-scale meta-analysis of GWAS recently identified in Caucasians a CHD-associated locus at chromosome 6q23.2, a region containing the transcription factor TCF21 gene. TCF21 (Capsulin/Pod1/Epicardin) is a member of the basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor family, and regulates cell fate decisions and differentiation in the developing coronary vasculature. Herein, we characterize a cis-regulatory mechanism by which the lead polymorphism rs12190287 disrupts an atypical activator protein 1 (AP-1) element, as demonstrated by allele-specific transcriptional regulation, transcription factor binding, and chromatin organization, leading to altered TCF21 expression. Further, this element is shown to mediate signaling through platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFR-ß) and Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) pathways. A second disease allele identified in East Asians also appears to disrupt an AP-1-like element. Thus, both disease-related growth factor and embryonic signaling pathways may regulate CHD risk through two independent alleles at TCF21.
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