Endothelial cells emerge from the atrioventricular canal to form coronary blood vessels in juvenile zebrafish hearts. We find that pdgfrb is first expressed in the epicardium around the atrioventricular canal and later becomes localized mainly in the mural cells. pdgfrb mutant fish show severe defects in mural cell recruitment and coronary vessel development. Single-cell RNA sequencing analyses identified pdgfrb+ cells as epicardium-derived cells (EPDCs) and mural cells. Mural cells associated with coronary arteries also express cxcl12b and smooth muscle cell markers. Interestingly, these mural cells remain associated with coronary arteries even in the absence of Pdgfrβ, although smooth muscle gene expression is downregulated. We find that pdgfrb expression dynamically changes in EPDCs of regenerating hearts. Differential gene expression analyses of pdgfrb+ EPDCs and mural cells suggest that they express genes that are important for regeneration after heart injuries. mdka was identified as a highly upregulated gene in pdgfrb+ cells during heart regeneration. However, pdgfrb but not mdka mutants show defects in heart regeneration after amputation. Our results demonstrate that heterogeneous pdgfrb+ cells are essential for coronary development and heart regeneration.

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