A novel role of Brg1 in the regulation of SRF/MRTFA-dependent smooth muscle-specific gene expression

Min Zhang, Hong Fang, Jiliang Zhou, B. Paul Herring

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58 Scopus citations


Serum response factor (SRF) is a key regulator of smooth muscle differentiation, proliferation, and migration. Myocardin-related transcription factor A (MRTFA) is a co-activator of SRF that can induce expression of SRF-dependent, smooth muscle-specific genes and actin/Rho-dependent genes, but not MAPK-regulated growth response genes. How MRTFA and SRF discriminate between these sets of target genes is still unclear. We hypothesized that SWI/SNF ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes, containing Brahma-related gene 1 (Brg1) or Brahma (Brm), may play a role in this process. Results from Western blotting and qRT-PCR analysis demonstrated that dominant negative Brg1 blocked the ability of MRTFA to induce expression of smooth muscle-specific genes, but not actin/Rho-dependent early response genes, in fibroblasts. In addition, dominant negative Brg1 attenuated expression of smooth muscle-specific genes in primary cultures of smooth muscle cells. MRTFA overexpression did not induce expression of smooth muscle-specific genes in SW13 cells, which lack endogenous Brg1 or Brm. Reintroduction of Brg1 or Brm into SW13 cells restored their responsiveness to MRTFA. Immunoprecipitation assays revealed that Brg1, SRF, and MRTFA form a complex in vivo, and Brg1 directly binds MRTFA, but not SRF, in vitro. Results from chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that dominant negative Brg1 significantly attenuated the ability of MRTFA to increase SRF binding to the promoters of smooth muscle-specific genes, but not early response genes. Together these data suggest that Brg1/Brm containing SWI/SNF complexes play a critical role in regulating expression of SRF/MRTFA-dependent smooth muscle-specific genes but not SRF/MRTFA-dependent early response genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25708-25716
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - Aug 31 2007
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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