Cardiac-enriched BAF chromatin-remodeling complex subunit Baf60c regulates gene expression programs essential for heart development and function

Biol Open. 2018 Jan 5;7(1):bio029512. doi: 10.1242/bio.029512.


How chromatin-remodeling complexes modulate gene networks to control organ-specific properties is not well understood. For example, Baf60c (Smarcd3) encodes a cardiac-enriched subunit of the SWI/SNF-like BAF chromatin complex, but its role in heart development is not fully understood. We found that constitutive loss of Baf60c leads to embryonic cardiac hypoplasia and pronounced cardiac dysfunction. Conditional deletion of Baf60c in cardiomyocytes resulted in postnatal dilated cardiomyopathy with impaired contractile function. Baf60c regulates a gene expression program that includes genes encoding contractile proteins, modulators of sarcomere function, and cardiac metabolic genes. Many of the genes deregulated in Baf60c null embryos are targets of the MEF2/SRF co-factor Myocardin (MYOCD). In a yeast two-hybrid screen, we identified MYOCD as a BAF60c interacting factor; we showed that BAF60c and MYOCD directly and functionally interact. We conclude that Baf60c is essential for coordinating a program of gene expression that regulates the fundamental functional properties of cardiomyocytes.

Keywords: Chromatin remodeling; Embryo; Gene regulation; Heart.