Transcriptional control of a novel long noncoding RNA Mymsl in smooth muscle cells by a single Cis-element and its initial functional characterization in vessels

Mihyun Choi, Yao Wei Lu, Jinjing Zhao, Mingfu Wu, Wei Zhang, Xiaochun Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Differentiated vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are crucial in maintaining vascular homeostasis. While the coding transcriptome of the differentiated VSMC phenotype has been defined, we know little about its noncoding signature. Herein, we identified a Myocardin-induced muscle specific long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) (Mymsl) downregulated upon VSMC phenotypic modulation. We demonstrated an essential role of a proximal consensus CArG element in response to MYOCD/SRF in vitro. To validate the in vivo role of this CArG element, we generated CArG mutant mice via CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. While the CArG mutation had no impact on the expression of surrounding genes, it abolished Mymsl expression in SMCs, but not skeletal and cardiac muscle. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays (ChIPs) showed decreased SRF binding to CArG region in mutants whereas the enrichment of H3K79Me2 remained the same. RNA-seq analysis showed a downregulation of matrix genes in aortas from Mymsl knockout mice, which was further validated in injured carotid arteries. Our study defined the transcriptional control of a novel lncRNA in SMCs via a single transcription factor binding site, which may offer a new strategy for generating SMC-specific knockout mouse models. We also provided in vivo evidence supporting the potential importance of Mymsl in vascular pathophysiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-157
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of molecular and cellular cardiology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes



  • CRISPR genome editing
  • Long noncoding RNA
  • Transcription factor
  • Vascular smooth muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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