Background: Cardiovascular disease is associated with epigenomic changes in the heart; however, the endogenous structure of cardiac myocyte chromatin has never been determined.
Methods: To investigate the mechanisms of epigenomic function in the heart, genome-wide chromatin conformation capture (Hi-C) and DNA sequencing were performed in adult cardiac myocytes following development of pressure overload-induced hypertrophy. Mice with cardiac-specific deletion of CTCF (a ubiquitous chromatin structural protein) were generated to explore the role of this protein in chromatin structure and cardiac phenotype. Transcriptome analyses by RNA-seq were conducted as a functional readout of the epigenomic structural changes.
Results: Depletion of CTCF was sufficient to induce heart failure in mice, and human patients with heart failure receiving mechanical unloading via left ventricular assist devices show increased CTCF abundance. Chromatin structural analyses revealed interactions within the cardiac myocyte genome at 5-kb resolution, enabling examination of intra- and interchromosomal events, and providing a resource for future cardiac epigenomic investigations. Pressure overload or CTCF depletion selectively altered boundary strength between topologically associating domains and A/B compartmentalization, measurements of genome accessibility. Heart failure involved decreased stability of chromatin interactions around disease-causing genes. In addition, pressure overload or CTCF depletion remodeled long-range interactions of cardiac enhancers, resulting in a significant decrease in local chromatin interactions around these functional elements.
Conclusions: These findings provide a high-resolution chromatin architecture resource for cardiac epigenomic investigations and demonstrate that global structural remodeling of chromatin underpins heart failure. The newly identified principles of endogenous chromatin structure have key implications for epigenetic therapy.
Keywords: epigenomics; genomics; heart failure; hypertrophy.
© 2017 The Authors.