TBX20 Improves Contractility and Mitochondrial Function During Direct Human Cardiac Reprogramming.

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: Direct cardiac reprogramming of fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes has emerged as a promising strategy to remuscularize injured myocardium. However, it is insufficient to generate functional induced cardiomyocytes from human fibroblasts using conventional reprogramming cocktails, and the underlying molecular mechanisms are not well studied. METHODS: To discover potential missing factors for human direct reprogramming, we performed transcriptomic comparison between human induced cardiomyocytes and functional cardiomyocytes. RESULTS: We identified TBX20 (T-box transcription factor 20) as the top cardiac gene that is unable to be activated by the MGT133 reprogramming cocktail (MEF2C, GATA4, TBX5, and miR-133). TBX20 is required for normal heart development and cardiac function in adult cardiomyocytes, yet its role in cardiac reprogramming remains undefined. We show that the addition of TBX20 to the MGT133 cocktail (MGT+TBX20) promotes cardiac reprogramming and activates genes associated with cardiac contractility, maturation, and ventricular heart. Human induced cardiomyocytes produced with MGT+TBX20 demonstrated more frequent beating, calcium oscillation, and higher energy metabolism as evidenced by increased mitochondria numbers and mitochondrial respiration. Mechanistically, comprehensive transcriptomic, chromatin occupancy, and epigenomic studies revealed that TBX20 colocalizes with MGT reprogramming factors at cardiac gene enhancers associated with heart contraction, promotes chromatin binding and co-occupancy of MGT factors at these loci, and synergizes with MGT for more robust activation of target gene transcription. CONCLUSIONS: TBX20 consolidates MGT cardiac reprogramming factors to activate cardiac enhancers to promote cardiac cell fate conversion. Human induced cardiomyocytes generated with TBX20 showed enhanced cardiac function in contractility and mitochondrial respiration.
  • Published In

  • Circulation  Journal
  • Keywords

  • cellular reprogramming, fibroblasts, heart, myocytes, cardiac, regeneration, transcription factors, Humans, Cellular Reprogramming, Chromatin, Fibroblasts, Mitochondria, Myocardium, Myocytes, Cardiac, T-Box Domain Proteins, Myocardial Contraction, Cardiovascular Agents
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tang Y; Aryal S; Geng X; Zhou X; Fast VG; Zhang J; Lu R; Zhou Y
  • Start Page

  • 1518
  • End Page

  • 1536
  • Volume

  • 146
  • Issue

  • 20