SOX9 modulates the expression of key transcription factors required for heart valve development

Victoria C. Garside, Rebecca Cullum, Olivia Alder, Daphne Y. Lu, Ryan Vander Werff, Mikhail Bilenky, Yongjun Zhao, Steven J M Jones, Marco A. Marra, T. Michael Underhill, Pamela A. Hoodless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Heart valve formation initiates when endothelial cells of the heart transform into mesenchyme and populate the cardiac cushions. The transcription factor SOX9 is highly expressed in the cardiac cushion mesenchyme, and is essential for heart valve development. Loss of Sox9 in mouse cardiac cushion mesenchyme alters cell proliferation, embryonic survival, and valve formation. Despite this important role, little is known about how SOX9 regulates heart valve formation or its transcriptional targets. Therefore, we mapped putative SOX9 binding sites by ChIP-Seq in E12.5 heart valves, a stage at which the valve mesenchyme is actively proliferating and initiating differentiation. Embryonic heart valves have been shown to express a high number of genes that are associated with chondrogenesis, including several extracellular matrix proteins and transcription factors that regulate chondrogenesis. Therefore, we compared regions of putative SOX9 DNA binding between E12.5 heart valves and E12.5 limb buds. We identified context-dependent and context-independent SOX9- interacting regions throughout the genome. Analysis of contextindependent SOX9 binding suggests an extensive role for SOX9 across tissues in regulating proliferation-associated genes including key components of the AP-1 complex. Integrative analysis of tissuespecific SOX9-interacting regions and gene expression profiles on Sox9-deficient heart valves demonstrated that SOX9 controls the expression of several transcription factors with previously identified roles in heart valve development, including Twist1, Sox4, Mecom and Pitx2. Together, our data identify SOX9-coordinated transcriptional hierarchies that control cell proliferation and differentiation during valve formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4340-4350
Number of pages11
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • ChIP-Seq
  • Embryogenesis
  • Genome
  • Heart valves
  • Limb
  • Mouse
  • Proliferation
  • RNA-Seq
  • SOX9
  • Transcription factor
  • Transcriptional networks

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