Based upon our demonstration that the smooth muscle cell–selective (SMC-selective) putative methyltransferase, Prdm6, interacts with myocardin-related transcription factor-A, we examined Prdm6’s role in SMCs in vivo using cell type–specific knockout mouse models. Although SMC-specific depletion of Prdm6 in adult mice was well tolerated, Prdm6 depletion in Wnt1-expressing cells during development resulted in perinatal lethality and a completely penetrant patent ductus arteriosus (DA) phenotype. Lineage tracing experiments in Wnt1Cre2 Prdm6fl/fl ROSA26LacZ mice revealed normal neural crest–derived SMC investment of the outflow tract. In contrast, myography measurements on DA segments isolated from E18.5 embryos indicated that Prdm6 depletion significantly reduced DA tone and contractility. RNA-Seq analyses on DA and ascending aorta samples at E18.5 identified a DA-enriched gene program that included many SMC-selective contractile associated proteins that was downregulated by Prdm6 depletion. Chromatin immunoprecipitation–sequencing experiments in outflow tract SMCs demonstrated that 50% of the genes Prdm6 depletion altered contained Prdm6 binding sites. Finally, using several genome-wide data sets, we identified an SMC-selective enhancer within the Prdm6 third intron that exhibited allele-specific activity, providing evidence that rs17149944 may be the causal SNP for a cardiovascular disease GWAS locus identified within the human PRDM6 gene.
Meng Zou, Kevin D. Mangum, Justin C. Magin, Heidi H. Cao, Michael T. Yarboro, Elaine L. Shelton, Joan M. Taylor, Jeff Reese, Terrence S. Furey, Christopher P. Mack