Abstract 16013: Direct Nkx2-5 Transcriptional Repression of Isl1 Controls Cardiomyocyte Subtype Identity
During heart development the second heart field (SHF) provides progenitor cells for most cardiomyocytes and expresses the LIM-homeodomain transcription factor Islet-1 (Isl1) and the homeobox protein Nkx2-5.
Here, we show that a direct repression of Isl1 transcription by Nkx2-5 is necessary for proper specification and maturation of ventricular and atrial chamber-specific myocardial lineages. Overexpression of Nkx2-5 in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) delayed specification of cardiac progenitors and inhibited expression of Isl1 and its downstream targets in the Isl1+ precursor population. These effects were partially rescued by Isl1 overexpression. Embryos deficient for Nkx2-5 in the Isl1+ lineage failed to downregulate Isl1 protein in cardiomyocytes of the heart tube (Figure 1A). We demonstrated that Nkx2-5 directly binds to an Isl1 gene enhancer and represses the transcriptional activity of Isl1. Furthermore, we showed that overexpression of Isl1 does not prevent cardiac differentiation of ESCs and in Xenopus laevis embryos. Instead, Isl1 overexpression in ESCs leads to enhanced specification of cardiac progenitors, earlier cardiac differentiation, and increased number of cardiomyocytes (Figure 1B). Functional and molecular analysis of Isl1-overexpressing cardiomyocytes revealed higher beating frequencies in both ESC-derived contracting areas and Xenopus Isl1-gain-of-function hearts (Figure 1C), which was associated with upregulation of nodal-specific genes and downregulation of transcripts of working myocardium.
Our findings provide an Isl1/Nkx2-5-mediated mechanism that coordinately regulates the specification of cardiac progenitors towards the different myocardial lineages and ensures proper acquisition of myocyte subtype-identity (Figure 1D).
Author Disclosures: A. Goedel: None. T. Dorn: None. J.T. Lam: None. F. Herrmann: None. J. Haas: None. K. Bundschu: None. G. Dobreva: None. M. Schiemann: None. R. Dirschinger: None. S.J. Kühl: None. D. Sinnecker: None. A. Moretti: None. M. Kühl: None. K. Laugwitz: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.