Insufficient versican cleavage and Smad2 phosphorylation results in bicuspid aortic and pulmonary valves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External Institution(s)

  • Medical University of South Carolina
  • Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
  • Ohio State University


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number1
StatusPublished - Jul 1 2013


Bicuspid or bifoliate aortic valve (BAV) results in two rather than three cusps and occurs in 1-2% of the population placing them at higher risk of developing progressive aortic valve disease. Only NOTCH-1 has been linked to human BAV, and genetically modified mouse models of BAV are limited by low penetrance and additional malformations. Here we report that in the Adamts5-/- valves, collagen I, collagen III, and elastin were disrupted in the malformed hinge region that anchors the mature semilunar cusps and where the ADAMTS5 proteoglycan substrate versican, accumulates. ADAMTS5 deficient prevalvular mesenchyme also exhibited a reduction of α-smooth muscle actin and filamin A suggesting versican cleavage may be involved in TGFβ signaling. Subsequent evaluation showed a significant decrease of pSmad2 in regions of prevalvular mesenchyme in Adamts5-/- valves. To test the hypothesis that ADAMTS5 versican cleavage is required, in part, to elicit Smad2 phosphorylation we further reduced Smad2 in Adamts5-/- mice through intergenetic cross. The Adamts5-/-;Smad2+/- mice had highly penetrant BAV and bicuspid pulmonary valve (BPV) malformations as well as increased cusp and hinge size compared to the Adamts5-/- and control littermates. These studies demonstrate that semilunar cusp malformations (BAV and BPV) can arise from a failure to remodel the proteoglycan-rich provisional ECM. Specifically, faulty versican clearance due to ADAMTS5 deficiency blocks the initiation of pSmad2 signaling, which is required for excavation of endocardial cushions during aortic and pulmonary valve development. Further studies using the Adamts5-/-; Smad2+/- mice with highly penetrant and isolated BAV, may lead to new pharmacological treatments for valve disease.

    Research areas

  • ADAMTS, Bicuspid, Cardiac valves, ECM, Endocardial cushions, Versican

Citation formats



Dupuis, LE, Osinska, H, Weinstein, MB, Hinton, RB & Kern, CB 2013, 'Insufficient versican cleavage and Smad2 phosphorylation results in bicuspid aortic and pulmonary valves', Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, vol. 60, no. 1, pp. 50-59.