Doctor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge (2012)
Diplom, Johannes Gutenberg Universitat Mainz (2007)
Thomas Quertermous, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
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-β) 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.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003652
View details for Web of Science ID 000322321100049
View details for PubMedID 23874238
We recently identified 68 genomic loci where common sequence variants are associated with platelet count and volume. Platelets are formed in the bone marrow by megakaryocytes, which are derived from hematopoietic stem cells by a process mainly controlled by transcription factors. The homeobox transcription factor MEIS1 is uniquely transcribed in megakaryocytes and not in the other lineage-committed blood cells. By ChIP-seq, we show that 5 of the 68 loci pinpoint a MEIS1 binding event within a group of 252 MK-overexpressed genes. In one such locus in DNM3, regulating platelet volume, the MEIS1 binding site falls within a region acting as an alternative promoter that is solely used in megakaryocytes, where allelic variation dictates different levels of a shorter transcript. The importance of dynamin activity to the latter stages of thrombopoiesis was confirmed by the observation that the inhibitor Dynasore reduced murine proplatelet for-mation in vitro.
View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2012-01-401893
View details for Web of Science ID 000313115300029
View details for PubMedID 22972982