Abstract 356: Krueppel-Like Factor 15 Regulates Wnt/β-Catenin Transcription and Controls Cardiac Progenitor Cell Fate in the Postnatal Heart
Wnt/β-catenin signaling controls adult heart remodeling partly by regulating cardiac progenitor cell (CPC) differentiation. We now identified and characterized a novel cardiac interaction of the transcription factor Krueppel-like factor 15 (KLF15) with the Wnt/β-catenin signaling on adult CPCs.
In vitro mutation, reporter gene assays and co-localization studies revealed that KLF15 requires two distinct domains for nuclear localization and for repression of β-catenin-mediated transcription. KLF15 had no effect on β-catenin stability or cellular localization, but interacted with its co-factor TCF4, which is required for activation of β-catenin target gene expression. Moreover, increased TCF4 ubiquitination was induced by KLF15. In line with this finding we found KLF15 to interact with the Nemo-like kinase, which was shown to phosphorylate and target TCF4 for degradation.
In vivo analyses of adult Klf15 functional knock-out (KO) vs. wild-type (WT) mice showed a cardiac β-catenin-mediated transcriptional activation and reduced TCF4 degradation along with cardiac dysfunction assessed by echocardiography (n=10). FACS analysis of the CPC enriched-population of KO vs. WT mice revealed a significant reduction of cardiogenic-committed precursors identified as Sca1+/αMHC+ (0.8±0.2% vs. 1.8±0.1%) and Tbx5+ (3.5±0.3% vs. 5.2±0.5%). In contrast, endothelial Sca1+/CD31+ cells were significantly higher in KO mice (11.3±0.4% vs. 8.6±0.4%; n≥9). In addition, Sca1+ isolated cells of Klf15 KO showed increased RNA expression of endothelial markers von Willebrand Factor, CD105, and Flk1 along with upregulation of β-catenin target genes.
CPCs co-cultured on adult fibroblasts resulted in increased endothelial Flk1 cells and reduction of αMHC and Hand1 cardiogenic cells in KO vs. WT CPCs (n=9). Treating these co-cultures with Quercetin, an inhibitor of nuclear β-catenin, resulted in partial rescue of the observed phenotype.
This study uncovers a critical role of KLF15 for the maintenance of cardiac tissue homeostasis. Via inhibition of β-catenin transcription, KLF15 controls cardiomyogenic cell fate similar to embryonic cardiogenesis. This knowledge may provide a tool for activation of endogenous CPCs in the postnatal heart.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.