Single-nucleus chromatin accessibility profiling highlights regulatory mechanisms of coronary artery disease risk

Adam W. Turner, Shengen Shawn Hu, Jose Verdezoto Mosquera, Wei Feng Ma, Chani J. Hodonsky, Doris Wong, Gaëlle Auguste, Yipei Song, Katia Sol-Church, Emily Farber, Soumya Kundu, Anshul Kundaje, Nicolas G. Lopez, Lijiang Ma, Saikat Kumar B. Ghosh, Suna Onengut-Gumuscu, Euan A. Ashley, Thomas Quertermous, Aloke V. Finn, Nicholas J. LeeperJason C. Kovacic, Johan L.M. Björkgren, Chongzhi Zang, Clint L. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a complex inflammatory disease involving genetic influences across cell types. Genome-wide association studies have identified over 200 loci associated with CAD, where the majority of risk variants reside in noncoding DNA sequences impacting cis-regulatory elements. Here, we applied single-nucleus assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with sequencing to profile 28,316 nuclei across coronary artery segments from 41 patients with varying stages of CAD, which revealed 14 distinct cellular clusters. We mapped ~320,000 accessible sites across all cells, identified cell-type-specific elements and transcription factors, and prioritized functional CAD risk variants. We identified elements in smooth muscle cell transition states (for example, fibromyocytes) and functional variants predicted to alter smooth muscle cell- and macrophage-specific regulation of MRAS (3q22) and LIPA (10q23), respectively. We further nominated key driver transcription factors such as PRDM16 and TBX2. Together, this single-nucleus atlas provides a critical step towards interpreting regulatory mechanisms across the continuum of CAD risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-816
Number of pages13
JournalNature Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


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