Klattenhoff CA, Scheuermann JC, Surface LE, Bradley RK, Fields PA, Steinhauser ML, Ding H, Butty VL, Torrey L, Haas S, Abo R, Tabebordbar M, Lee RT, Burge CB, Boyer LA
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are often expressed in a development-specific manner, yet little is known about their roles in lineage commitment. Here, we identified Braveheart (Bvht), a heart-associated lncRNA in mouse. Using multiple embryonic stem cell (ESC) differentiation strategies, we show that Bvht is required for progression of nascent mesoderm toward a cardiac fate. We find that Bvht is necessary for activation of a core cardiovascular gene network and functions upstream of mesoderm posterior 1 (MesP1), a master regulator of a common multipotent cardiovascular progenitor. We also show that Bvht interacts with SUZ12, a component of polycomb-repressive complex 2 (PRC2), during cardiomyocyte differentiation, suggesting that Bvht mediates epigenetic regulation of cardiac commitment. Finally, we demonstrate a role for Bvht in maintaining cardiac fate in neonatal cardiomyocytes. Together, our work provides evidence for a long noncoding RNA with critical roles in the establishment of the cardiovascular lineage during mammalian development.