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Background Proper function of endothelial cells is critical for vascular integrity and organismal survival. Studies over the past 2 decades have identified 2 members of the KLF (Krüppel-like factor) family of proteins, KLF2 and KLF4, as nodal regulators of endothelial function. Strikingly, inducible postnatal deletion of both KLF2 and KLF4 resulted in widespread vascular leak, coagulopathy, and rapid death. Importantly, while transcriptomic studies revealed profound alterations in gene expression, the molecular mechanisms underlying these changes remain poorly understood. Here, we seek to determine mechanisms of KLF2 and KLF4 transcriptional control in multiple vascular beds to further understand their roles as critical endothelial regulators. Methods and Results We integrate chromatin occupancy and transcription studies from multiple transgenic mouse models to demonstrate that KLF2 and KLF4 have overlapping yet distinct binding patterns and transcriptional targets in heart and lung endothelium. Mechanistically, KLFs use open chromatin regions in promoters and enhancers and bind in context-specific patterns that govern transcription in microvasculature. Importantly, this occurs during homeostasis in vivo without additional exogenous stimuli. Conclusions Together, this work provides mechanistic insight behind the well-described transcriptional and functional heterogeneity seen in vascular populations, while also establishing tools into exploring microvascular endothelial dynamics in vivo.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Heart Assoc

Publication Date





27 chromatin, Kruppel‐like factor, endothelial cell, enhancer, promoter, transcription, Animals, Mice, Chromatin, Endothelial Cells, Endothelium, Gene Expression, Kruppel-Like Factor 4, Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors