Theodoris CV, Li M, White MP, Liu L, He D, Pollard KS, Bruneau BG, Srivastava D
The mechanisms by which transcription factor haploinsufficiency alters the epigenetic and transcriptional landscape in human cells to cause disease are unknown. Here, we utilized human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived endothelial cells (ECs) to show that heterozygous nonsense mutations in NOTCH1 that cause aortic valve calcification disrupt the epigenetic architecture, resulting in derepression of latent pro-osteogenic and -inflammatory gene networks. Hemodynamic shear stress, which protects valves from calcification in vivo, activated anti-osteogenic and anti-inflammatory networks in NOTCH1(+/+), but not NOTCH1(+/-), iPSC-derived ECs. NOTCH1 haploinsufficiency altered H3K27ac at NOTCH1-bound enhancers, dysregulating downstream transcription of more than 1,000 genes involved in osteogenesis, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Computational predictions of the disrupted NOTCH1-dependent gene network revealed regulatory nodes that, when modulated, restored the network toward the NOTCH1(+/+) state. Our results highlight how alterations in transcription factor dosage affect gene networks leading to human disease and reveal nodes for potential therapeutic intervention.