CHF1/Hey2 plays a pivotal role in left ventricular maturation through suppression of ectopic atrial gene expression

Nobutaka Koibuchi, Michael T Chin
Circulation Research 2007 March 30, 100 (6): 850-5
We previously reported that mice lacking the hairy-related basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor CHF1/Hey2 develop a thin-walled left ventricle. To explore the basis for this phenotype, we examined regional gene expression patterns in the developing myocardium. We found that atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), which is normally expressed in the atria and trabeculae and is restricted from the developing compact myocardium beginning at embryonic day 13.5, is persistently expressed in the left ventricular compact myocardium of the knockout animals. We also examined the expression pattern of the T-box transcription factor Tbx5, a known regulator of ANF, and an additional Tbx5-dependent gene, connexin 40 (Cx40), both of which share a similar expression pattern to ANF during development. Tbx5 and Cx40 were similarly expressed ectopically in the compact myocardium of the CHF1/Hey2 knockout mouse. The atrial contractile genes mlc1a and mlc2a were also expressed ectopically in the left ventricular compact myocardium, providing evidence for a general dysregulation of atrial gene expression. Crossing of a myocardial-specific CHF1/Hey2 transgenic mouse with the knockouts led to rescue of the thin-walled myocardial phenotype and restoration of the normal patterns of gene expression. Myocardial cell proliferation, which has been shown previously to be suppressed by Tbx5, was also decreased in the knockout mice and rescued by the transgene. Our findings suggest that CHF1/Hey2 suppresses atrial identity in the left ventricular compact myocardium, facilitates myocardial proliferation by suppressing Tbx5, and thereby promotes proper ventricular myocardial maturation.

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