Department of Molecular Biology, the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine, and Senator Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
The cardiogenic transcription factors (TFs) Mef2c, Gata4, and Tbx5 can directly reprogram fibroblasts to induced cardiac-like myocytes (iCLMs), presenting a potential source of cells for cardiac repair. While activity of these TFs is enhanced by Hand2 and Akt1, their genomic targets and interactions during reprogramming are not well studied. We performed genome-wide analyses of cardiogenic TF binding and enhancer profiling during cardiac reprogramming. We found that these TFs synergistically activate enhancers highlighted by Mef2c binding sites and that Hand2 and Akt1 coordinately recruit other TFs to enhancer elements. Intriguingly, these enhancer landscapes collectively resemble patterns of enhancer activation during embryonic cardiogenesis. We further constructed a cardiac reprogramming gene regulatory network and found repression of EGFR signaling pathway genes. Consistently, chemical inhibition of EGFR signaling augmented reprogramming. Thus, by defining epigenetic landscapes these findings reveal synergistic transcriptional activation across a broad landscape of cardiac enhancers and key signaling pathways that govern iCLM reprogramming.