Myocardial Notch1-Rbpj deletion does not affect NOTCH signaling, heart development or function.
ABSTRACT: 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:Kabuki Syndrome patients have a spectrum of congenital disorders, including congenital heart defects, the primary determinant of mortality. Seventy percent of Kabuki Syndrome patients have mutations in the histone methyl-transferase KMT2D. However, the underlying mechanisms that drive these congenital disorders are unknown. Here, we generated and characterized zebrafish kmt2d null mutants that recapitulate the cardinal phenotypic features of Kabuki Syndrome, including microcephaly, palate defects, abnormal ear development, and cardiac defects. The cardiac phenotype consists of a previously unknown vasculogenesis defect that affects endocardium patterning and, consequently, heart ventricle lumen formation. Additionally, zebrafish kmt2d null mutants have angiogenesis defects depicted by abnormal aortic arch development, hyperactive ectopic blood vessel sprouting, and aberrant patterning of the brain vascular plexus. We demonstrate that zebrafish kmt2d null mutants have robust Notch signaling hyperactivation in endocardial and endothelial cells, including increased protein levels of the Notch transcription factor Rbpj. Our zebrafish Kabuki Syndrome model reveals a regulatory link between the Notch pathway and Kmt2d during endothelium and endocardium patterning and shows that pharmacological inhibition of Notch signaling rebalances Rbpj protein levels and rescues the cardiovascular phenotype by enhancing endothelial and endocardial cell proliferation and stabilizing endocardial patterning. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that Kmt2d regulates vasculogenesis and angiogenesis, provide evidence for interactions between Kmt2d and Notch signaling in Kabuki Syndrome, and suggest future directions for clinical research.
Project description:Cardiac valve formation is crucial for embryonic and adult heart function. Valve malformations constitute the most common congenital cardiac defect, but little is known about the molecular mechanisms regulating valve formation and homeostasis. Here, we show that endocardial Notch1 and myocardial Bmp2 signal integration establish a valve-forming field between 2 chamber developmental domains. Patterning occurs through the activation of endocardial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) exclusively in prospective valve territories. Mice with constitutive endocardial Notch1 activity ectopically express Hey1 and Heyl. They also display an activated mesenchymal gene program in ventricles and a partial (noninvasive) EMT in vitro that becomes invasive upon BMP2 treatment. Snail1, TGF-?2, or Notch1 inhibition reduces BMP2-induced ventricular transformation and invasion, whereas BMP2 treatment inhibits endothelial Gsk3?, stabilizing Snail1 and promoting invasiveness. Integration of Notch and Bmp2 signals is consistent with Notch1 signaling being attenuated after myocardial Bmp2 deletion. Notch1 activation in myocardium extends Hey1 expression to nonchamber myocardium, represses Bmp2, and impairs EMT. In contrast, Notch deletion abrogates endocardial Hey gene transcription and extends Bmp2 expression to the ventricular endocardium. This embryonic Notch1-Bmp2-Snail1 relationship may be relevant in adult valve disease, in which decreased NOTCH signaling causes valve mesenchyme cell formation, fibrosis, and calcification.
Project description:Hey2 gene mutations in both humans and mice have been associated with multiple cardiac defects. However, the currently reported localization of Hey2 in the ventricular compact zone cannot explain the wide variety of cardiac defects. Furthermore, it was reported that, in contrast to other organs, Notch doesn't regulate Hey2 in the heart. To determine the expression pattern and the regulation of Hey2, we used novel methods including RNAscope and a Hey2 CreERT2 knockin line to precisely determine the spatiotemporal expression pattern and level of Hey2 during cardiac development. We found that Hey2 is expressed in the endocardial cells of the atrioventricular canal and the outflow tract, as well as at the base of trabeculae, in addition to the reported expression in the ventricular compact myocardium. By disrupting several signaling pathways that regulate trabeculation and/or compaction, we found that, in contrast to previous reports, Notch signaling and Nrg1/ErbB2 regulate Hey2 expression level in myocardium and/or endocardium, but not its expression pattern: weak expression in trabecular myocardium and strong expression in compact myocardium. Instead, we found that FGF signaling regulates the expression pattern of Hey2 in the early myocardium, and regulates the expression level of Hey2 in a Notch1 dependent manner.
Project description:Coordination between adjacent tissues plays a crucial role during the morphogenesis of developing organs. In the embryonic heart, two tissues - the myocardium and the endocardium - are closely juxtaposed throughout their development. Myocardial and endocardial cells originate in neighboring regions of the lateral mesoderm, migrate medially in a synchronized fashion, collaborate to create concentric layers of the heart tube, and communicate during formation of the atrioventricular canal. Here, we identify a novel transmembrane protein, Tmem2, that has important functions during both myocardial and endocardial morphogenesis. We find that the zebrafish mutation frozen ventricle (frv) causes ectopic atrioventricular canal characteristics in the ventricular myocardium and endocardium, indicating a role of frv in the regional restriction of atrioventricular canal differentiation. Furthermore, in maternal-zygotic frv mutants, both myocardial and endocardial cells fail to move to the midline normally, indicating that frv facilitates cardiac fusion. Positional cloning reveals that the frv locus encodes Tmem2, a predicted type II single-pass transmembrane protein. Homologs of Tmem2 are present in all examined vertebrate genomes, but nothing is known about its molecular or cellular function in any context. By employing transgenes to drive tissue-specific expression of tmem2, we find that Tmem2 can function in the endocardium to repress atrioventricular differentiation within the ventricle. Additionally, Tmem2 can function in the myocardium to promote the medial movement of both myocardial and endocardial cells. Together, our data reveal that Tmem2 is an essential mediator of myocardium-endocardium coordination during cardiac morphogenesis.
Project description:The basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor Hand2 plays critical roles during cardiac morphogenesis via expression and function within myocardial, neural crest, and epicardial cell populations. Here, we show that Hand2 plays two essential Notch-dependent roles within the endocardium. Endocardial ablation of Hand2 results in failure to develop a patent tricuspid valve, intraventricular septum defects, and hypotrabeculated ventricles, which collectively resemble the human congenital defect tricuspid atresia. We show endocardial Hand2 to be an integral downstream component of a Notch endocardium-to-myocardium signaling pathway and a direct transcriptional regulator of Neuregulin1. Additionally, Hand2 participates in endocardium-to-endocardium-based cell signaling, with Hand2 mutant hearts displaying an increased density of coronary lumens. Molecular analyses further reveal dysregulation of several crucial components of Vegf signaling, including VegfA, VegfR2, Nrp1, and VegfR3. Thus, Hand2 functions as a crucial downstream transcriptional effector of endocardial Notch signaling during both cardiogenesis and coronary vasculogenesis.
Project description:The human heart's failure to replace ischemia-damaged myocardium with regenerated muscle contributes significantly to the worldwide morbidity and mortality associated with coronary artery disease. Remarkably, certain vertebrate species, including the zebrafish, achieve complete regeneration of amputated or injured myocardium through the proliferation of spared cardiomyocytes. Nonetheless, the genetic and cellular determinants of natural cardiac regeneration remain incompletely characterized. Here, we report that cardiac regeneration in zebrafish relies on Notch signaling. Following amputation of the zebrafish ventricular apex, Notch receptor expression becomes activated specifically in the endocardium and epicardium, but not the myocardium. Using a dominant negative approach, we discovered that suppression of Notch signaling profoundly impairs cardiac regeneration and induces scar formation at the amputation site. We ruled out defects in endocardial activation, epicardial activation, and dedifferentiation of compact myocardial cells as causative for the regenerative failure. Furthermore, coronary endothelial tubes, which we lineage traced from preexisting endothelium in wild-type hearts, formed in the wound despite the myocardial regenerative failure. Quantification of myocardial proliferation in Notch-suppressed hearts revealed a significant decrease in cycling cardiomyocytes, an observation consistent with a noncell autonomous requirement for Notch signaling in cardiomyocyte proliferation. Unexpectedly, hyperactivation of Notch signaling also suppressed cardiomyocyte proliferation and heart regeneration. Taken together, our data uncover the exquisite sensitivity of regenerative cardiomyocyte proliferation to perturbations in Notch signaling.
Project description:Ventricular chambers are essential for the rhythmic contraction and relaxation occurring in every heartbeat throughout life. Congenital abnormalities in ventricular chamber formation cause severe human heart defects. How the early trabecular meshwork of myocardial fibres forms and subsequently develops into mature chambers is poorly understood. We show that Notch signalling first connects chamber endocardium and myocardium to sustain trabeculation, and later coordinates ventricular patterning and compaction with coronary vessel development to generate the mature chamber, through a temporal sequence of ligand signalling determined by the glycosyltransferase manic fringe (MFng). Early endocardial expression of MFng promotes Dll4-Notch1 signalling, which induces trabeculation in the developing ventricle. Ventricular maturation and compaction require MFng and Dll4 downregulation in the endocardium, which allows myocardial Jag1 and Jag2 signalling to Notch1 in this tissue. Perturbation of this signalling equilibrium severely disrupts heart chamber formation. Our results open a new research avenue into the pathogenesis of cardiomyopathies.
Project description:During mouse heart development, ventricular endocardial cells give rise to the coronary arteries by angiogenesis. Myocardially-derived vascular endothelial growth factor-a (Vegfa) regulates embryonic coronary angiogenesis through vascular endothelial growth factor-receptor 2 (Vegfr2) expressed in the endocardium. In this study, we investigated the role of endocardially-produced soluble Vegfr1 (sVegfr1) in the coronary angiogenesis. We deleted sVegfr1 in the endocardium of the developing mouse heart and found that this deletion resulted in a precocious formation of coronary plexuses. Using an ex vivo coronary angiogenesis assay, we showed that the Vegfr1-null ventricular endocardial cells underwent excessive angiogenesis and generated extensive endothelial tubular networks. We also revealed by qPCR analysis that expression of genes involved in the Vegf-Notch pathway was augmented in the Vegfr1-null hearts. We further showed that inhibition of Notch signaling blocked the formation of coronary plexuses by the ventricular endocardial cells. These results establish that Vegfr1 produced in the endocardium negatively regulates embryonic coronary angiogenesis, possibly by limiting the Vegf-Notch signaling.
Project description:Endocardial to mesenchymal transformation (EMT) is a fundamental cellular process required for heart valve formation. Notch, Wnt and Bmp pathways are known to regulate this process. To further address how these pathways coordinate in the process, we specifically disrupted Notch1 or Jagged1 in the endocardium of mouse embryonic hearts and showed that Jagged1-Notch1 signaling in the endocardium is essential for EMT and early valvular cushion formation. qPCR and RNA in situ hybridization assays reveal that endocardial Jagged1-Notch1 signaling regulates Wnt4 expression in the atrioventricular canal (AVC) endocardium and Bmp2 in the AVC myocardium. Whole embryo cultures treated with Wnt4 or Wnt inhibitory factor 1 (Wif1) show that Bmp2 expression in the AVC myocardium is dependent on Wnt activity; Wnt4 also reinstates Bmp2 expression in the AVC myocardium of endocardial Notch1 null embryos. Furthermore, while both Wnt4 and Bmp2 rescue the defective EMT resulting from Notch inhibition, Wnt4 requires Bmp for its action. These results demonstrate that Jagged1-Notch1 signaling in endocardial cells induces the expression of Wnt4, which subsequently acts as a paracrine factor to upregulate Bmp2 expression in the adjacent AVC myocardium to signal EMT.
Project description:The endocardium is the endothelial component of the vertebrate heart and plays a key role in heart development. Where, when, and how the endocardium segregates during embryogenesis have remained largely unknown, however. We now show that Nkx2-5+ cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) that express the Sry-type HMG box gene Sox17 from embryonic day (E) 7.5 to E8.5 specifically differentiate into the endocardium in mouse embryos. Although Sox17 is not essential or sufficient for endocardium fate, it can bias the fate of CPCs toward the endocardium. On the other hand, Sox17 expression in the endocardium is required for heart development. Deletion of Sox17 specifically in the mesoderm markedly impaired endocardium development with regard to cell proliferation and behavior. The proliferation of cardiomyocytes, ventricular trabeculation, and myocardium thickening were also impaired in a non-cell-autonomous manner in the Sox17 mutant, likely as a consequence of down-regulation of NOTCH signaling. An unknown signal, regulated by Sox17 and required for nurturing of the myocardium, is responsible for the reduction in NOTCH-related genes in the mutant embryos. Our results thus provide insight into differentiation of the endocardium and its role in heart development.