Chromosome silencing in vitro reveals trisomy 21 causes cell-autonomous deficits in angiogenesis and early dysregulation in Notch signaling.

Moon, Jennifer ELawrence, Jeanne B


Despite the prevalence of Down syndrome (DS), little is known regarding the specific cell pathologies that underlie this multi-system disorder. To understand which cell types and pathways are more directly affected by trisomy 21 (T21), we used an inducible-XIST system to silence one chromosome 21 in vitro. T21 caused the dysregulation of Notch signaling in iPSCs, potentially affecting cell-type programming. Further analyses identified dysregulation of pathways important for two cell types: neurogenesis and angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is essential to many bodily systems, yet is understudied in DS; therefore, we focused next on whether T21 affects endothelial cells. An in vitro assay for microvasculature formation revealed a cellular pathology involving delayed tube formation in response to angiogenic signals. Parallel transcriptomic analysis of endothelia further showed deficits in angiogenesis regulators. Results indicate a direct cell-autonomous impact of T21 on endothelial function, highlighting the importance of angiogenesis, with wide-reaching implications for development and disease progression.


Disease Progression, Trisomy