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Myocyte enhancer factor 2C and Nkx2-5 up-regulate each other's expression and initiate cardiomyogenesis in P19 cells.

Skerjanc I.S., Petropoulos H., Ridgeway A.G., Wilton S.

The Nkx2-5 homeodomain protein plays a key role in cardiomyogenesis. Ectopic expression in frog and zebrafish embryos results in an enlarged myocardium; however, expression of Nkx2-5 in fibroblasts was not able to trigger the development of beating cardiac muscle. In order to examine the ability of Nkx2-5 to modulate endogenous cardiac specific gene expression in cells undergoing early stages of differentiation, P19 cell lines overexpressing Nkx2-5 were differentiated in the absence of Me2SO. Nkx2-5 expression induced cardiomyogenesis in these cultures aggregated without Me2SO. During differentiation into cardiac muscle, Nkx2-5 expression resulted in the activation of myocyte enhancer factor 2C (MEF2C), but not MEF2A, -B, or -D. In order to compare the abilities of Nkx2-5 and MEF2C to induce cellular differentiation, P19 cells overexpressing MEF2C were aggregated in the absence of Me2SO. Similar to Nkx2-5, MEF2C expression initiated cardiomyogenesis, resulting in the up-regulation of Brachyury T, bone morphogenetic protein-4, Nkx2-5, GATA-4, cardiac alpha-actin, and myosin heavy chain expression. These findings indicate the presence of a positive regulatory network between Nkx2-5 and MEF2C and show that both factors can direct early stages of cell differentiation into a cardiomyogenic pathway.

J. Biol. Chem. 273:34904-34910(1998) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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