The Isl1/Ldb1 complex orchestrates heart-specific chromatin organization and transcriptional regulation

  • Cardiac progenitor cells hold great potential for regenerative therapies in heart disorders. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating cardiac progenitor cell expansion and differentiation remain poorly defined. Here we show that the multi- adaptor protein Ldb1, which mediates interactions between different classes of LIM domain transcription factors, is a multifunctional regulator of cardiac progenitor cell differentiation. Ldb1-deficient embryonic stem cells (ESCs) show a markedly decreased expression of second heart field (SHF) marker genes and subsequently impaired cardiomyocyte differentiation. Conditional ablation of Ldb1 in the early SHF using an Isl1-Cre driver led to embryonic lethality at Embryonic day (E)10.5 with cardiac abnormalities including a significantly smaller right ventricle and a shortened outflow tract, supporting a crucial role of Ldb1 in the SHF. Mechanistically we show that the importance of Ldb1 for SHF development is two-fold: On the one hand, Ldb1 binds to Isl1 and protects it from proteasomal degradation, as a consequence of which Ldb1-deficiency leads to an almost complete loss of Isl1+ cardiovascular progenitor cells. On the other hand the Isl1/Ldb1 complex promotes long-range promoter-enhancer interactions at the loci of the core cardiac transcription factors Mef2c and Hand2. Chromosome conformation capture followed by sequencing (3C- seq) identified specific Ldb1-mediated interactions of the Isl1/Ldb1 responsive Mef2c anterior heart field enhancer with genes which play key roles in cardiac progenitor cell function and cardiovascular development. These interactions are of critical importance to regulate the expression of the downstream target genes since their expression levels are strongly dependent on the Ldb1/Isl1 levels. Overexpression of an Ldb1 mutant, which contains the LIM interaction domain and thereby can protect Isl1 protein from degradation, but lacks the dimerization domain and thus cannot promote long-range interactions, does not collaborate with Isl1 to regulate the expression of their common targets and results in defects in Isl1+ cardiac progenitor differentiation. In this thesis we show one of the first examples of genome-wide chromatin reorganization mediated by a developmental regulated, cell type specific, transcription complex. Ldb1 in concert with Isl1 promotes long range promoter- enhancer and enhancer-enhancer interactions in order to create active chromatin hub where gene important for heart development can be co-regulated. Moreover, Isl1 and Ldb1 genetically interact during heart development, as Isl1/Ldb1 haplodeficient embryos show various cardiac anomalies. The dosage-sensitive interdependence between Isl1 and Ldb1 in the expression of these key factors in cardiogenesis, further supports a key role of the Isl1/Ldb1 complex in coordinating a three dimensional genome organization, upstream of a regulatory network driving cardiac differentiation and heart development. In conclusion, the Isl1/Ldb1 complex orchestrate a genome-wide three dimensional chromatin reorganization resulting in a transcriptional program responsible for the differentiation of multipotent cardiac progenitor cells into cardiomyocytes.

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Author:Luca Caputo
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Rolf MarschalekORCiDGND, Gergana Dobreva
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2016/05/03
Year of first Publication:2015
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2016/04/14
Release Date:2016/05/04
Page Number:168
Institutes:Biochemie, Chemie und Pharmazie / Biochemie und Chemie
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht