Phenotypic modulation of vascular smooth muscle cells represents a hallmark event in vascular injury. The underlying mechanism is not completely sorted out. We investigated the involvement of angiogenic factor with G patch and FHA domains 1 (Aggf1) in vascular injury focusing on the transcriptional regulation of vascular smooth muscle cell signature genes.Approach and Results—
We report here that Aggf1 expression was downregulated in several different cell models of phenotypic modulation in vitro and in the vessels after carotid artery ligation in mice. Adenovirus-mediated Aggf1 overexpression dampened vascular injury and normalized vascular smooth muscle cell signature gene expression. Mechanistically, Aggf1 interacted with myocardin and was imperative for the formation of a serum response factor–myocardin complex on gene promoters. In response to injurious stimuli, kruppel-like factor 4 was recruited to the Aggf1 promoter and enlisted histone deacetylase 11 to repress Aggf1 transcription. In accordance, depletion of kruppel-like factor 4 or histone deacetylase 11 restored Aggf1 expression and abrogated vascular smooth muscle cell phenotypic modulation. Finally, treatment of a histone deacetylase 11 inhibitor attenuated vascular injury in mice.Conclusions—
Therefore, we have unveiled a previously unrecognized role for Aggf1 in regulating vascular injury.