E2F1 Mediates SOX17 Deficiency-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension

Dan Yi, Bin Liu, Hongxu Ding, Shuai Li, Rebecca Li, Jiakai Pan, Karina Ramirez, Xiaomei Xia, Mrinalini Kala, Qinmao Ye, Won Hee Lee, Richard E. Frye, Ting Wang, Yutong Zhao, Kenneth S. Knox, Christopher C. Glembotski, Michael B. Fallon, Zhiyu Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Rare genetic variants and genetic variation at loci in an enhancer in SOX17 (SRY-box transcription factor 17) are identified in patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and PAH with congenital heart disease. However, the exact role of genetic variants or mutations in SOX17 in PAH pathogenesis has not been reported. METHODS: SOX17 expression was evaluated in the lungs and pulmonary endothelial cells (ECs) of patients with idiopathic PAH. Mice with Tie2Cre-mediated Sox17 knockdown and EC-specific Sox17 deletion were generated to determine the role of SOX17 deficiency in the pathogenesis of PAH. Human pulmonary ECs were cultured to understand the role of SOX17 deficiency. Single-cell RNA sequencing, RNA-sequencing analysis, and luciferase assay were performed to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms of SOX17 deficiency-induced PAH. E2F1 (E2F transcription factor 1) inhibitor HLM006474 was used in EC-specific Sox17 mice. RESULTS: SOX17 expression was downregulated in the lung and pulmonary ECs from patients with idiopathic PAH. Mice with Tie2Cre-mediated Sox17 knockdown and EC-specific Sox17 deletion induced spontaneously mild pulmonary hypertension. Loss of endothelial Sox17 in EC exacerbated hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension in mice. Loss of SOX17 in lung ECs induced endothelial dysfunctions including upregulation of cell cycle programming, proliferative and antiapoptotic phenotypes, augmentation of paracrine effect on pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells, impaired cellular junction, and BMP (bone morphogenetic protein) signaling. E2F1 signaling was shown to mediate the SOX17 deficiency-induced EC dysfunction. Pharmacological inhibition of E2F1 in Sox17 EC-deficient mice attenuated pulmonary hypertension development. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated that endothelial SOX17 deficiency induces pulmonary hypertension through E2F1. Thus, targeting E2F1 signaling represents a promising approach in patients with PAH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2357-2371
Number of pages15
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2023


  • angiogenesis
  • endothelial cells
  • hypertension
  • mice
  • pulmonary artery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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