Relationship of disease-associated gene expression to cardiac phenotype is buffered by genetic diversity and chromatin regulation.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Expression of a cohort of disease-associated genes, some of which are active in fetal myocardium, is considered a hallmark of transcriptional change in cardiac hypertrophy models. How this transcriptome remodeling is affected by the common genetic variation present in populations is unknown. We examined the role of genetics, as well as contributions of chromatin proteins, to regulate cardiac gene expression and heart failure susceptibility. We examined gene expression in 84 genetically distinct inbred strains of control and isoproterenol-treated mice, which exhibited varying degrees of disease. Unexpectedly, fetal gene expression was not correlated with hypertrophic phenotypes. Unbiased modeling identified 74 predictors of heart mass after isoproterenol-induced stress, but these predictors did not enrich for any cardiac pathways. However, expanded analysis of fetal genes and chromatin remodelers as groups correlated significantly with individual systemic phenotypes. Yet, cardiac transcription factors and genes shown by gain-/loss-of-function studies to contribute to hypertrophic signaling did not correlate with cardiac mass or function in disease. Because the relationship between gene expression and phenotype was strain specific, we examined genetic contribution to expression. Strikingly, strains with similar transcriptomes in the basal heart did not cluster together in the isoproterenol state, providing comprehensive evidence that there are different genetic contributors to physiological and pathological gene expression. Furthermore, the divergence in transcriptome similarity versus genetic similarity between strains is organ specific and genome-wide, suggesting chromatin is a critical buffer between genetics and gene expression.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Karbassi, E; Monte, E; Chapski, DJ; Lopez, R; Rosa Garrido, M; Kim, J; Wisniewski, N; Rau, CD; Wang, JJ; Weiss, JN; Wang, Y; Lusis, AJ; Vondriska, TM

Published Date

  • August 1, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 48 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 601 - 615

PubMed ID

  • 27287924

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5005461

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1531-2267

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00035.2016


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States