A context-specific cardiac β-catenin and GATA4 interaction influences TCF7L2 occupancy and remodels chromatin driving disease progression in the adult heart

Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Apr 6;46(6):2850-2867. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky049.


Chromatin remodelling precedes transcriptional and structural changes in heart failure. A body of work suggests roles for the developmental Wnt signalling pathway in cardiac remodelling. Hitherto, there is no evidence supporting a direct role of Wnt nuclear components in regulating chromatin landscapes in this process. We show that transcriptionally active, nuclear, phosphorylated(p)Ser675-β-catenin and TCF7L2 are upregulated in diseased murine and human cardiac ventricles. We report that inducible cardiomyocytes (CM)-specific pSer675-β-catenin accumulation mimics the disease situation by triggering TCF7L2 expression. This enhances active chromatin, characterized by increased H3K27ac and TCF7L2 occupancies to cardiac developmental and remodelling genes in vivo. Accordingly, transcriptomic analysis of β-catenin stabilized hearts shows a strong recapitulation of cardiac developmental processes like cell cycling and cytoskeletal remodelling. Mechanistically, TCF7L2 co-occupies distal genomic regions with cardiac transcription factors NKX2-5 and GATA4 in stabilized-β-catenin hearts. Validation assays revealed a previously unrecognized function of GATA4 as a cardiac repressor of the TCF7L2/β-catenin complex in vivo, thereby defining a transcriptional switch controlling disease progression. Conversely, preventing β-catenin activation post-pressure-overload results in a downregulation of these novel TCF7L2-targets and rescues cardiac function. Thus, we present a novel role for TCF7L2/β-catenin in CMs-specific chromatin modulation, which could be exploited for manipulating the ubiquitous Wnt pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / genetics
  • Disease Progression
  • GATA4 Transcription Factor / genetics*
  • GATA4 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Heart Failure / genetics*
  • Heart Failure / metabolism
  • Heart Failure / pathology
  • Humans
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Transcription Factor 7-Like 2 Protein / genetics*
  • Transcription Factor 7-Like 2 Protein / metabolism
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway / genetics
  • beta Catenin / genetics*
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • Chromatin
  • GATA4 Transcription Factor
  • Tcf7l2 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factor 7-Like 2 Protein
  • beta Catenin