Vascular smooth muscle cells have attracted considerable interest as a model for a flexible program of gene expression. This cell type arises throughout the embryo body plan via poorly understood signaling cascades that direct the expression of transcription factors and microRNAs which, in turn, orchestrate the activation of contractile genes collectively defining this cell lineage. The discovery of myocardin and its close association with serum response factor has represented a major break-through for the molecular understanding of vascular smooth muscle cell differentiation. Retinoids have been shown to improve the outcome of vessel wall remodeling following injury and have provided further insights into the molecular circuitry that defines the vascular smooth muscle cell phenotype. This review summarizes the progress to date in each of these areas of vascular smooth muscle cell biology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)