CRISPR perturbations at many coronary artery disease loci impair vascular endothelial cell functions


Genome-wide association studies have identified 161 genetic variants associated with coronary artery disease (CAD), but the causal genes and biological pathways remain unknown at most loci. Here, we used CRISPR knockout, inhibition and activation to target 1998 variants at 83 CAD loci to assess their effect on six vascular endothelial cell phenotypes (E-selectin, ICAM1, VCAM1, nitric oxide, reactive oxygen species, calcium signalling). We identified 42 significant variants located within 26 CAD loci. Detailed characterization of the RNA helicase DHX38 and CRISPR activation at the FURIN/FES, CCDC92/ZNF664 and CNNM2 loci revealed a strong effect on vascular endothelial cell senescence.