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The distinct morphological and functional properties of the cardiac chambers arise from an elaborate developmental program involving cell lineage determination, morphogenesis, and dynamic spatiotemporal gene expression patterns. Although a number of transcription factors have been identified for proper gene regulation in the chambers, the complete transcriptional network that controls these patterns remains poorly defined. Previous studies have implicated the MEF2C transcription factor in the regulation of chamber-restricted enhancers. To better understand the mechanisms of MEF2-mediated regional gene regulation in the heart, we took advantage of MEF2A knock-out (KO) mice, a model that displays a predominantly ventricular chamber phenotype. Transcriptomic analysis of atrial and ventricular tissue from adult MEF2A KO hearts revealed a striking difference in chamber gene expression, with a larger proportion of dysregulated genes in the atrial chambers. Canonical pathway analysis of genes preferentially dysregulated in the atria and ventricles revealed distinct MEF2A-dependent cellular processes in each cardiac chamber. In the atria, MEF2A regulated genes involved in fibrosis and adhesion, whereas in the ventricles, it controlled inflammation and endocytosis. Finally, analysis of transcription factor-binding site motifs of differentially dysregulated genes uncovered distinct MEF2A co-regulators for the atrial and ventricular gene sets, and a subset of these was found to cooperate with MEF2A. In conclusion, our results suggest a mechanism in which MEF2 transcriptional activity is differentially recruited to fine-tune gene expression levels in each cardiac chamber. This regulatory mechanism ensures optimal output of these gene products for proper physiological function of the atrial and ventricular chambers. © 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Jose L Medrano, Francisco J Naya. The transcription factor MEF2A fine-tunes gene expression in the atrial and ventricular chambers of the adult heart. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2017 Dec 22;292(51):20975-20988

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PMID: 29054930

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