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Circ Res. 2008 Aug 15;103(4):388-95. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.108.180661. Epub 2008 Jul 17.

Transcriptional regulation during development of the ductus arteriosus.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA.


The ductus arteriosus is a specialized blood vessel containing highly differentiated and contractile vascular smooth muscle, derived largely from neural crest cells, that is essential for fetal life but typically closes after birth. Impaired development of the ductus arteriosus or disruption of signaling pathways that initiate postnatal closure can result in persistent patency of the ductus arteriosus, the third most common congenital heart defect. We found that Tfap2beta, a transcription factor associated with patent ductus arteriosus in humans, was uniquely expressed in mouse ductal smooth muscle. Endothelin-1 and the hypoxia-induced transcription factor, Hif2alpha were also highly enriched in ductal smooth muscle at embryonic day 13.5 and were dependent on Tfap2beta for their expression in this domain. Hif2alpha functioned as a negative regulator of Tfap2beta-induced transcription by disrupting protein-DNA interactions, suggesting a negative feedback loop regulating Tfap2beta activity. Our data indicate that Tfap2beta, Et-1, and Hif2alpha act in a transcriptional network during ductal smooth muscle development and that disruption of this pathway may contribute to patent ductus arteriosus by affecting the development of smooth muscle within the ductus arteriosus.

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