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Nature. 2010 Mar 18;464(7287):409-12. doi: 10.1038/nature08801. Epub 2010 Feb 21.

Targeted deletion of the 9p21 non-coding coronary artery disease risk interval in mice.

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  • 1Genomics Division, MS 84-171, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

Abstract

Sequence polymorphisms in a 58-kilobase (kb) interval on chromosome 9p21 confer a markedly increased risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), the leading cause of death worldwide. The variants have a substantial effect on the epidemiology of CAD and other life-threatening vascular conditions because nearly one-quarter of Caucasians are homozygous for risk alleles. However, the risk interval is devoid of protein-coding genes and the mechanism linking the region to CAD risk has remained enigmatic. Here we show that deletion of the orthologous 70-kb non-coding interval on mouse chromosome 4 affects cardiac expression of neighbouring genes, as well as proliferation properties of vascular cells. Chr4(Delta70kb/Delta70kb) mice are viable, but show increased mortality both during development and as adults. Cardiac expression of two genes near the non-coding interval, Cdkn2a and Cdkn2b, is severely reduced in chr4(Delta70kb/Delta70kb) mice, indicating that distant-acting gene regulatory functions are located in the non-coding CAD risk interval. Allele-specific expression of Cdkn2b transcripts in heterozygous mice showed that the deletion affects expression through a cis-acting mechanism. Primary cultures of chr4(Delta70kb/Delta70kb) aortic smooth muscle cells exhibited excessive proliferation and diminished senescence, a cellular phenotype consistent with accelerated CAD pathogenesis. Taken together, our results provide direct evidence that the CAD risk interval has a pivotal role in regulation of cardiac Cdkn2a/b expression, and suggest that this region affects CAD progression by altering the dynamics of vascular cell proliferation.

PMID:
20173736
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2938076
Free PMC Article

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