Instructor, Cardiovascular Institute
FRCPC, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Cardiology (2014)
FRCPC, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Internal Medicine (2012)
Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have emerged as an effective platform for regenerative therapy, disease modeling, and drug discovery. iPSCs allow for the production of limitless supply of patient-specific somatic cells that enable advancement in cardiovascular precision medicine. Over the past decade, researchers have developed protocols to differentiate iPSCs to multiple cardiovascular lineages, as well as to enhance the maturity and functionality of these cells. Despite significant advances, drug therapy and discovery for cardiovascular disease have lagged behind other fields such as oncology. We speculate that this paucity of drug discovery is due to a previous lack of efficient, reproducible, and translational model systems. Notably, existing drug discovery and testing platforms rely on animal studies and clinical trials, but investigations in animal models have inherent limitations due to interspecies differences. Moreover, clinical trials are inherently flawed by assuming that all individuals with a disease will respond identically to a therapy, ignoring the genetic and epigenomic variations that define our individuality. With ever-improving differentiation and phenotyping methods, patient-specific iPSC-derived cardiovascular cells allow unprecedented opportunities to discover new drug targets and screen compounds for cardiovascular disease. Imbued with the genetic information of an individual, iPSCs will vastly improve our ability to test drugs efficiently, as well as tailor and titrate drug therapy for each patient.
View details for DOI 10.1124/pr.116.013003
View details for PubMedID 31871214
Cardiac fibrosis is important for wound healing, regeneration and producing the extracellular matrix (ECM) that provides the scaffold for cells. In pathological situations, fibroblasts are activated and remodel the ECM. In volume 133, issue 17 of Clinical Science, Yang et al. discovered that the miR-214-3p/NLRC5 axis is important for fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition (FMT) and ECM remodelling in a pressure overload model of fibrosis [Clin. Sci. (2019) 133(17), 1845-1856]. This discovery helps to explain the complicated regulation of cardiac fibrosis. It also underscores the need for more investigation into the mechanisms of cardiac fibrosis to develop better diagnostic modalities and therapeutic options in heart failure.
View details for DOI 10.1042/CS20190866
View details for PubMedID 31722012
MicroRNAs (miR) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate diverse biological functions. The bicistronic gene miR-143/145 determines cell fate and phenotype of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), in part, by destabilizing Elk-1 mRNA. The transcription factor c-Myb also regulates differentiation and proliferation of VSMC, and here we test whether these effects may be mediated by miR-143/145.Flow cytometry of cardiovascular-directed d3.75 embryoid bodies (EBs) isolated smooth muscle progenitors with specific cell surface markers. In c-myb knockout (c-myb -/-) EB, these progenitors manifest low levels of miR-143 (19%; p<0.05) and miR-145 (6%; p<0.01) expression as compared to wild-type (wt) EB. Primary VSMC isolated from transgenic mice with diminished expression (c-myblx/lx) or reduced activity (c-mybh/h) of c-Myb also manifest low levels of miR-143 (c-myblx/lx: 50%; c-mybh/h: 41%), and miR-145 (c-myblx/lx: 49%; c-mybh/h: 56%), as compared to wt (P<0.05). Sequence alignment identified four putative c-Myb binding sites (MBS1-4) in the proximal promoter (PP) of the miR-143/145 gene. PP-reporter constructs revealed that point mutations in MBS1 and MBS4 abrogated c-Myb-dependent transcription from the miR-143/145 PP (P<0.01). Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) revealed preferential c-Myb binding at MBS4 (p<0.001). By conjugating Elk-1 3'-untranslated region (UTR) to a reporter and co-transducing wt VSMC with this plus a miR-143-antagomir, and co-transducing c-myblx/lx VSMC with this plus a miR-143-mimic, we demonstrate that c-Myb's ability to repress Elk-1 is mediated by miR-143.c-Myb regulates VSMC gene expression by transcriptional activation of miR-143/145.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0202778
View details for Web of Science ID 000443374400013
View details for PubMedID 30169548
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6118359
Objective: Few methods enable molecular and cellular studies of vascular aging or Type 2 diabetes (T2D). Here, we report a new approach to studying human vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) pathophysiology by examining VSMCs differentiated from progenitors found in skin. Approach and results: Skin-derived precursors (SKPs) were cultured from biopsies (N=164, ?1 cm2) taken from the edges of surgical incisions of older adults (N=158; males 72%; mean age 62.7 ± 13 years) undergoing cardiothoracic surgery, and differentiated into VSMCs at high efficiency (>80% yield). The number of SKPs isolated from subjects with T2D was ?50% lower than those without T2D (cells/g: 0.18 ± 0.03, N=58 versus 0.40 ± 0.05, N=100, P<0.05). Importantly, SKP-derived VSMCs from subjects with T2D had higher Fluo-5F-determined baseline cytosolic Ca2+ concentrations (AU: 1,968 ± 160, N=7 versus 1,386 ± 170, N=13, P<0.05), and a trend toward greater Ca2+ cycling responses to norepinephrine (NE) (AUC: 177,207 ± 24,669, N=7 versus 101,537 ± 15,881, N=20, P<0.08) despite a reduced frequency of Ca2+ cycling (events s-1 cell-1: 0.011 ± 0.004, N=8 versus 0.021 ± 0.003, N=19, P<0.05) than those without T2D. SKP-derived VSMCs from subjects with T2D also manifest enhanced sensitivity to phenylephrine (PE) in an impedance-based assay (EC50 nM: 72.3 ± 63.6, N=5 versus 3,684 ± 3,122, N=9, P<0.05), and impaired wound closure in vitro (% closure: 21.9 ± 3.6, N=4 versus 67.0 ± 10.3, N=4, P<0.05). Compared with aortic- and saphenous vein-derived primary VSMCs, SKP-derived VSMCs are functionally distinct, but mirror defects of T2D also exhibited by primary VSMCs.Skin biopsies from older adults yield sufficient SKPs to differentiate VSMCs, which reveal abnormal phenotypes of T2D that survive differentiation and persist even after long-term normoglycemic culture.
View details for DOI 10.1042/CS20170239
View details for Web of Science ID 000406139100003
View details for PubMedID 28424290
Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are believed to dedifferentiate and proliferate in response to vessel injury. Recently, adventitial progenitor cells were implicated as a source of VSMCs involved in vessel remodeling. c-Myb is a transcription factor known to regulate VSMC proliferation in vivo and differentiation of VSMCs from mouse embryonic stem cell-derived progenitors in vitro. However, the role of c-Myb in regulating specific adult vascular progenitor cell populations was not known. Our objective was to examine the role of c-Myb in the proliferation and differentiation of Sca1(+) adventitial VSMC progenitor cells.Using mice with wild-type or hypomorphic c-myb (c-myb(h/h)), BrdU (bromodeoxyuridine) uptake and flow cytometry revealed defective proliferation of Sca1(+) adventitial VSMC progenitor cells at 8, 14, and 28 days post carotid artery denudation injury in c-myb(h/h) arteries. c-myb(h/h) cKit(+)CD34(-)Flk1(-)Sca1(+)CD45(-)Lin(-) cells failed to proliferate, suggesting that c-myb regulates the activation of specific Sca1(+) progenitor cells in vivo and in vitro. Although expression levels of transforming growth factor-?1 did not vary between wild-type and c-myb(h/h) carotid arteries, in vitro differentiation of c-myb(h/h) Sca1(+) cells manifested defective transforming growth factor-?1-induced VSMC differentiation. This is mediated by reduced transcriptional activation of myocardin because chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed c-Myb binding to the myocardin promoter only during differentiation of Sca1(+) cells, myocardin promoter mutagenesis identified 2 specific c-Myb-responsive binding sites, and adenovirus-mediated expression of myocardin rescued the phenotype of c-myb(h/h) progenitors.These data support a role for c-Myb in the regulation of VSMC progenitor cells and provide novel insight into how c-myb regulates VSMC differentiation through myocardin.
View details for DOI 10.1161/ATVBAHA.115.307116
View details for Web of Science ID 000378497000011
View details for PubMedID 27174098
Delayed cardiac tamponade after a penetrating chest injury is a rare complication. The clinical diagnosis of tamponade is facilitated with imaging. We present a case report of a 23-year-old male who was brought to emergency after multiple stab wounds to the chest. After resuscitation and repair of laceration of right internal mammary artery and right ventricle, he was discharged but later returned with shortness of breath. Echocardiography revealed a rare case of delayed pericardial tamponade causing left ventricular collapse. The pericardial effusion was treated with emergent pericardiocentesis and later required a thoracoscopy guided pericardial window for definitive management.
View details for DOI 10.1155/2016/2154748
View details for Web of Science ID 000383082900001
View details for PubMedID 27651957
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5019924
We have programmed human cells to express physiological levels of recombinant RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) subunits carrying tandem affinity purification (TAP) tags. Double-affinity chromatography allowed for the simple and efficient isolation of a complex containing all 12 RNAPII subunits, the general transcription factors TFIIB and TFIIF, the RNAPII phosphatase Fcp1, and a novel 153-kDa polypeptide of unknown function that we named RNAPII-associated protein 1 (RPAP1). The TAP-tagged RNAPII complex is functionally active both in vitro and in vivo. A role for RPAP1 in RNAPII transcription was established by shutting off the synthesis of Ydr527wp, a Saccharomyces cerevisiae protein homologous to RPAP1, and demonstrating that changes in global gene expression were similar to those caused by the loss of the yeast RNAPII subunit Rpb11. We also used TAP-tagged Rpb2 with mutations in fork loop 1 and switch 3, two structural elements located strategically within the active center, to start addressing the roles of these elements in the interaction of the enzyme with the template DNA during the transcription reaction.
View details for DOI 10.1128/MCB.24.16.7043-7058.2004
View details for Web of Science ID 000223045600015
View details for PubMedID 15282305
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC479746
The functions of the SAGA and SWI/SNF complexes are interrelated and can form stable "epigenetic marks" on promoters in vivo. Here we show that stable promoter occupancy by SWI/SNF and SAGA in the absence of transcription activators requires the bromodomains of the Swi2/Snf2 and Gcn5 subunits, respectively, and nucleosome acetylation. This acetylation can be brought about by either the SAGA or NuA4 HAT complexes. The bromodomain in the Spt7 subunit of SAGA is dispensable for this activity but will anchor SAGA if it is swapped into Gcn5, indicating that specificity of bromodomain function is determined in part by the subunit it occupies. Thus, bromodomains within the catalytic subunits of SAGA and SWI/SNF anchor these complexes to acetylated promoter nucleosomes.
View details for Web of Science ID 000179010100009
View details for PubMedID 12419247
A zebrafish Ftz-F1 homologue, zFF1A (zebrafish Ff1a or Nr5a2, a member of nuclear receptor superfamily) and its C-terminally truncated variant (zFF1B) were previously identified. Due to lack of the identity box (I-box) and activation function 2 (AF-2) domain, zFF1B lacks transactivation function and fails to synergize with estrogen receptor (ER) in regulating promoters. It was speculated that the I-box might be involved in the zFF1A/ER interaction. In the present study, the function of the I-box was examined. In the absence of the I-box or with an altered heptad 9, the AF-2 of zFF1A was not functional, either in the presence or absence of ER. The GST pull-down assay showed that zFF1A and its mutants exerted similar physical contacts with ER-LBD, suggesting that the "dimerization" domain (I-box) is essential for the transcriptional activity of zFF1A. Moreover, nuclear receptor coactivator selectively activated zFF1 with the I-box but exerted no effect on zFF1B, indicating that the I-box is able to interact with the coactivators. By deletion study and analysis of the identified domains in GAL4-DNA binding domain, other regions of zFF1A critical for its AF were also delineated. Consistent with the mutation analysis, AF-2 was active only in the presence of the I-box. We also identified a novel AF domain (AF-3) located in the hinge region (amino acids 155-267), although the activity of AF-3 was inhibited by its flanking region. We suggest that the D and E regions of zFF1A possess both positive and negative transactivation functions, and interdomain "cross-talk" may confer the full transcriptional activity of the protein.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M000121200
View details for Web of Science ID 000087392200052
View details for PubMedID 10747875