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PLoS One 2014 Jan 17;91:e87294. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087294.
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Comparative analysis reveals distinct and overlapping functions of Mef2c and Mef2d during cardiogenesis in Xenopus laevis.

Guo Y , Kühl SJ , Pfister AS , Cizelsky W , Denk S , Beer-Molz L , Kühl M .

The family of vertebrate Mef2 transcription factors is comprised of four members named Mef2a, Mef2b, Mef2c, and Mef2d. These transcription factors are regulators of the myogenic programs with crucial roles in development of skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle cells. Mef2a and Mef2c are essential for cardiac development in mice. In Xenopus, mef2c and mef2d but not mef2a were recently shown to be expressed during cardiogenesis. We here investigated the function of Mef2c and Mef2d during Xenopus laevis cardiogenesis. Knocking down either gene by corresponding antisense morpholino oligonucleotides led to profound heart defects including morphological abnormalities, pericardial edema, and brachycardia. Marker gene expression analyses and rescue experiments revealed that (i) both genes are required for proper cardiac gene expression, (ii) Mef2d can compensate for the loss of Mef2c but not vice versa, and (iii) the γ domain of Mef2c is required for early cardiac development. Taken together, our data provide novel insights into the function of Mef2 during cardiogenesis, highlight evolutionary differences between species and might have an impact on attempts of direct reprogramming.

PubMed ID: 24489892
PMC ID: PMC3904989
Article link: PLoS One

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: actc1 bmp4 gata6 isl1 mef2a mef2c mef2d myh6 nkx2-5 tbx1 tbx20 tnni3
Morpholinos: mef2c MO1 mef2d MO1

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Arnold, MEF2C transcription factor controls chondrocyte hypertrophy and bone development. 2007, Pubmed