Novel Roles of GATA4/6 in the Postnatal Heart Identified through Temporally Controlled, Cardiomyocyte-Specific Gene Inactivation by Adeno-Associated Virus Delivery of Cre Recombinase.
ABSTRACT: GATA4 and GATA6 are central cardiac transcriptional regulators. The postnatal, stage-specific function of the cardiac transcription factors GATA4 and GATA6 have not been evaluated. In part, this is because current Cre-loxP approaches to cardiac gene inactivation require time consuming and costly breeding of Cre-expressing and "floxed" mouse lines, often with limited control of the extent or timing of gene inactivation. We investigated the stage-specific functions of GATA4 and GATA6 in the postnatal heart by using adeno-associated virus serotype 9 to control the timing and extent of gene inactivation by Cre. Systemic delivery of recombinant, adeno-associated virus 9 (AAV9) expressing Cre from the cardiac specific Tnnt2 promoter was well tolerated and selectively and efficiently recombined floxed target genes in cardiomyocytes. AAV9:Tnnt2-Cre efficiently inactivated Gata4 and Gata6. Neonatal Gata4/6 inactivation caused severe, rapidly lethal systolic heart failure. In contrast, Gata4/6 inactivation in adult heart caused only mild systolic dysfunction but severe diastolic dysfunction. Reducing the dose of AAV9:Tnnt2-Cre generated mosaics in which scattered cardiomyocytes lacked Gata4/6. This mosaic knockout revealed that Gata4/6 are required cell autonomously for physiological cardiomyocyte growth. Our results define novel roles of GATA4 and GATA6 in the neonatal and adult heart. Furthermore, our data demonstrate that evaluation of gene function hinges on controlling the timing and extent of gene inactivation. AAV9:Tnnt2-Cre is a powerful tool for controlling these parameters.
Project description:The transcriptional code that programs maladaptive cardiac hypertrophy involves the zinc finger-containing DNA binding factor GATA-4. The highly related transcription factor GATA-6 is also expressed in the adult heart, although its role in controlling the hypertrophic program is unknown.To determine the role of GATA-6 in cardiac hypertrophy and homeostasis.Here, we performed a cardiomyocyte-specific conditional gene targeting approach for Gata6, as well as a transgenic approach to overexpress GATA-6 in the mouse heart. Deletion of Gata6-loxP with Nkx2.5-cre produced late embryonic lethality with heart defects, whereas deletion with ?-myosin heavy chain-cre (?MHC-cre) produced viable adults with >95% loss of GATA-6 protein in the heart. These latter mice were subjected to pressure overload-induced hypertrophy for 2 and 6 weeks, which showed a significant reduction in cardiac hypertrophy similar to that observed Gata4 heart-specific deleted mice. Gata6-deleted mice subjected to pressure overload also developed heart failure, whereas control mice maintained proper cardiac function. Gata6-deleted mice also developed less cardiac hypertrophy following 2 weeks of angiotensin II/phenylephrine infusion. Controlled GATA-6 overexpression in the heart induced hypertrophy with aging and predisposed to greater hypertrophy with pressure overload stimulation. Combinatorial deletion of Gata4 and Gata6 from the adult heart resulted in dilated cardiomyopathy and lethality by 16 weeks of age. Mechanistically, deletion of Gata6 from the heart resulted in fundamental changes in the levels of key regulatory genes and myocyte differentiation-specific genes.These results indicate that GATA-6 is both necessary and sufficient for regulating the cardiac hypertrophic response and differentiated gene expression, both alone and in coordination with GATA-4.
Project description:During vertebrate cardiac development NOTCH signaling activity in the endocardium is essential for the crosstalk between endocardium and myocardium that initiates ventricular trabeculation and valve primordium formation. This crosstalk leads later to the maturation and compaction of the ventricular chambers and the morphogenesis of the cardiac valves, and its alteration may lead to disease. Although endocardial NOTCH signaling has been shown to be crucial for heart development, its physiological role in the myocardium has not been clearly established. Here we have used mouse genetics to evaluate the role of NOTCH in myocardial development. We have inactivated the unique and ubiquitous NOTCH effector RBPJ in early cardiomyocytes progenitors, and examined its consequences in cardiac development and function. Our results show that mice with Tnnt2-Cre-mediated myocardial-specific deletion of Rbpj develop to term, with homozygous mutant animals showing normal expression of cardiac development markers, and normal adult heart function. Similar observations have been obtained after Notch1 deletion with Tnnt2-Cre. We have also deleted Rbpj in both myocardial and endocardial progenitor cells, using the Nkx2.5-Cre driver, resulting in ventricular septal defect (VSD), double outlet right ventricle (DORV), and bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), due to NOTCH signaling abrogation in the endocardium of cardiac valves. Our data demonstrate that NOTCH-RBPJ inactivation in the myocardium does not affect heart development or adult cardiac function.
Project description:Congenital heart disease is the most common type of birth defect with an incidence of 1%. Previously, we described a point mutation in GATA4 that segregated with cardiac defects in a family with autosomal dominant disease. The mutation (G296S) exhibited biochemical deficits and disrupted a novel interaction between Gata4 and Tbx5. To determine if Gata4 and Tbx5 genetically interact in vivo, we generated mice heterozygous for both alleles. We found that nearly 100% of mice heterozygous for Gata4 and Tbx5 were embryonic or neonatal lethal and had complete atrioventricular (AV) septal defects with a single AV valve and myocardial thinning. Consistent with this phenotype, Gata4 and Tbx5 are co-expressed in the developing endocardial cushions and myocardium. In mutant embryos, cardiomyocyte proliferation deficits were identified compatible with the myocardial hypoplasia. Similar to Gata4, Gata6 and Tbx5 are co-expressed in the embryonic heart, and the transcription factors synergistically activate the atrial natiuretic factor promoter. We demonstrate a genetic interaction between Gata6 and Tbx5 with an incompletely penetrant phenotype of neonatal lethality and thin myocardium. Gene expression analyses were performed on both sets of compound heterozygotes and demonstrated downregulation of alpha-myosin heavy chain only in Gata4/Tbx5 heterozygotes. These findings highlight the unique genetic interactions of Gata4 and Gata6 with Tbx5 for normal cardiac morphogenesis in vivo.
Project description:Tnnt2, encoding thin-filament sarcomeric protein cardiac troponin T, plays critical roles in heart development and function in mammals. To develop an inducible genetic deletion strategy in myocardial cells, we generated a new Tnnt2:MerCreMer (Tnnt2(MerCreMer/+)) knock-in mouse. Rosa26 reporter lines were used to examine the specificity and efficiency of the inducible Cre recombinase. We found that Cre was specifically and robustly expressed in the cardiomyocytes at embryonic and adult stages following tamoxifen induction. The knock-in allele on Tnnt2 locus does not impact cardiac function. These results suggest that this new Tnnt2(MerCreMer/+) mouse could be applied towards the temporal genetic deletion of genes of interests in cardiomyocytes with Cre-LoxP technology. The Tnnt2(MerCreMer/+) mouse model also provides a useful tool to trace myocardial lineage during development and repair after cardiac injury.
Project description:Studies of adult mice lacking either GATA4 or GATA6 in the small intestine demonstrate roles for these factors in small intestinal biology. Deletion of Gata4 in the adult mouse intestine revealed an essential role for GATA4 in jejunal function. Deletion of Gata6 in the adult mouse ileum alters epithelial cell types and ileal enterocyte gene expression. The effect of deletion of Gata4 or Gata6 alone during embryonic small intestinal development, however, has not been examined. We recently demonstrated that loss of both factors in double conditional knockout embryos causes severe defects in jejunal development. Therefore, the goal of this study is to provide phenotypic analysis of the small intestine of single Gata4 and Gata6 conditional knockout embryos.Villin-Cre was used to delete Gata4 or Gata6 in the developing intestinal epithelium. Elimination of either GATA4 or GATA6 in the jejunum, where these factors are co-expressed, caused changes in enterocyte and enteroendocrine cell gene expression. Ectopic expression of markers of the ileal-specific bile acid metabolism pathway was induced in GATA4-deficient jejunum but not in GATA6-deficient jejunum. A subtle increase in goblet cells was also identified in jejunum of both mutants. In GATA6-deficient embryonic ileum, villus length was altered, and enterocyte gene expression was perturbed including ectopic expression of the colon marker Car1. Goblet cells were increased, and enteroendocrine cells were decreased.Overall, we show that aspects of the phenotypes observed in the small intestine of adult Gata4 and Gata6 conditional knockout mice emerge during development. The effect of eliminating GATA6 from the developing ileum was greater than that of eliminating either GATA4 or GATA6 from the developing jejunum likely reflecting functional redundancy between these factors in the jejunum. Although GATA4 and GATA6 functions overlap, our data also suggest unique functions for GATA4 and GATA6 within the developing intestine. GATA4 likely operates independently of GATA6 within the jejunum to regulate jejunal versus ileal enterocyte identity and consequently jejunal physiology. GATA6 likely regulates enteroendocrine cell differentiation cell autonomously whereas GATA4 affects this population indirectly.
Project description:Cardiac hypertrophy is regulated by the zinc finger-containing DNA binding factors Gata4 and Gata6, both of which are required to mount a productive growth response of the adult heart. To determine if Gata4 and Gata6 are redundant or have non-overlapping roles, we performed cardiomyocyte-specific conditional gene deletions for Gata4 and Gata6 in conjunction with reciprocal replacement with a transgene encoding either Gata4 or Gata6, during the pressure overload response. We determined that Gata4 and Gata6 play a redundant and dosage-sensitive role in programming the hypertrophic growth response itself following pressure overload stimulation. However, non-redundant functions were identified as functional decompensation induced by either Gata4 or Gata6 deletion was not rescued by the reciprocal transgene, and only Gata4 heart-specific deletion produced a reduction in capillary density after pressure overload. Gene expression profiling from hearts of these gene-deleted mice showed both overlapping and unique transcriptional codes, with Gata4 exhibiting the strongest impact. These results indicate that Gata4 and Gata6 play a dosage-dependent and semi-redundant role in programming cardiac hypertrophy, but that each has a unique role in maintaining cardiac homeostasis and adaptation to injury that cannot be compensated by the other. Microarray-bassed gene expression profiling identified overlapping, distinct, and quantitatively/differentially regulated classes of Gata4 or Gata6 regulated genes. To determine if Gata4 and Gata6 are redundant or have non-overlapping roles in programming cardiac hypertrophic responses and adaptation to stress or injury, we performed cardiomyocyte-specific conditional gene deletions for Gata4 and Gata6 in conjunction with reciprocal replacement with a transgene encoding either Gata4 or Gata6, during the pressure overload response.
Project description:The transcriptional code that programs cardiac hypertrophy involves the zinc finger-containing DNA binding factors GATA-4 and GATA-6, both of which are required to mount a hypertrophic response of the adult heart. Here we performed conditional gene deletion of Gata4 or Gata6 in the mouse heart in conjunction with reciprocal gene replacement using a transgene encoding either GATA-4 or GATA-6 in the heart as a means of parsing dosage effects of GATA-4 and GATA-6 versus unique functional roles. We determined that GATA-4 and GATA-6 play a redundant and dosage-sensitive role in programming the hypertrophic growth response of the heart following pressure overload stimulation. However, non-redundant functions were identified in allowing the heart to compensate and resist heart failure after pressure overload stimulation, as neither Gata4 nor Gata6 deletion was fully rescued by expression of the reciprocal transgene. For example, only Gata4 heart-specific deletion blocked the neoangiogenic response to pressure overload stimulation. Gene expression profiling from hearts of these gene-deleted mice showed both overlapping and unique transcriptional codes, which is presented. These results indicate that GATA-4 and GATA-6 play a dosage-dependent and redundant role in programming cardiac hypertrophy, but that each has a more complex role in maintaining cardiac homeostasis and resistance to heart failure following injury that cannot be compensated by the other.
Project description:The zinc-finger transcription factors GATA4 and GATA6 play critical roles in embryonic development. Mouse embryos lacking GATA4 die at embryonic day (E) 8.5 because of failure of ventral foregut closure and cardiac bifida, whereas GATA6 is essential for development of the visceral endoderm. Although mice that are heterozygous for either a GATA4 or GATA6 null allele are normal, we show that compound heterozygosity of GATA4 and GATA6 results in embryonic lethality by E13.5 accompanied by a spectrum of cardiovascular defects, including thin-walled myocardium, ventricular and aortopulmonary septal defects, and abnormal smooth muscle development. Myocardial hypoplasia in GATA4/GATA6 double heterozygous mutant embryos is associated with reduced proliferation of cardiomyocytes, diminished expression of the myogenic transcription factor MEF2C (myocyte enhancer factor 2C), and down-regulation of beta-myosin heavy chain expression, a key determinant of cardiac contractility. These findings reveal a threshold of GATA4 and GATA6 activity that is required for gene expression in the developing cardiovascular system and underscore the potential of recessive mutations to perturb the delicate regulation of cardiovascular development.
Project description:Gata4 and Gata6 are closely related transcription factors that are essential for the development of a number of embryonic tissues. While they have nearly identical DNA-binding domains and similar patterns of expression, Gata4 and Gata6 null embryos have strikingly different embryonic lethal phenotypes. To determine whether the lack of redundancy is due to differences in protein function or Gata4 and Gata6 expression domains, we generated mice that contained the Gata6 cDNA in place of the Gata4 genomic locus. Gata4(Gata6/Gata6) embryos survived through embryonic day (E)12.5 and successfully underwent ventral folding morphogenesis, demonstrating that Gata6 is able to replace Gata4 function in extraembryonic tissues. Surprisingly, Gata6 is unable to replace Gata4 function in the septum transversum mesenchyme or the epicardium, leading to liver agenesis and lethal heart defects in Gata4(Gata6/Gata6) embryos. These studies suggest that Gata4 has evolved distinct functions in the development of these tissues that cannot be performed by Gata6, even when it is provided in the identical expression domain. Our work has important implications for the respective mechanisms of Gata function during development, as well as the functional evolution of these essential transcription factors.
Project description:Recently, heterozygous mutations in GATA6 have been found in neonatal diabetic patients with failed pancreatic organogenesis. To investigate the roles of GATA4 and GATA6 in mouse pancreas organogenesis, we conditionally inactivated these genes within the pancreas. Single inactivation of either gene did not have a major impact on pancreas formation, indicating functional redundancy. However, double Gata4/Gata6 mutant mice failed to develop pancreata, died shortly after birth, and displayed hyperglycemia. Morphological defects in Gata4/Gata6 mutant pancreata were apparent during embryonic development, and the epithelium failed to expand as a result of defects in cell proliferation and differentiation. The number of multipotent pancreatic progenitors, including PDX1+ cells, was reduced in the Gata4/Gata6 mutant pancreatic epithelium. Remarkably, deletion of only 1 Gata6 allele on a Gata4 conditional knockout background severely reduced pancreatic mass. In contrast, a single WT allele of Gata4 in Gata6 conditional knockout mice was sufficient for normal pancreatic development, indicating differential contributions of GATA factors to pancreas formation. Our results place GATA factors at the top of the transcriptional network hierarchy controlling pancreas organogenesis.