Discordant on/off switching of gene expression in myocytes during cardiac hypertrophy in vivo.
To determine whether the expression of cardiac genes changes in a graded manner or by on/off switching when cardiac myocytes change genetic programs in living animals, we have studied two indicator genes that change their expression oppositely in mouse binucleate ventricular cardiomyocytes during development and in response to cardiac hypertrophy. One is a single-copy transgene controlled by an alpha-myosin heavy chain (aMHC) promoter and coding for CFP. The other is the endogenous beta-myosin heavy chain (bMHC) gene modified to code for a YFP-bMHC fusion protein. Using high-resolution confocal microscopy, we determined the expression of the two indicator genes in individual cardiomyocytes perinatally and after inducing cardiac hypertrophy by transverse aortic constriction. Our results provide strong evidence that the cardiac genes respond by switching their expression in an on/off rather than graded manner, and that responding genes within a single cell and within the two nuclei of cardiomyocytes do not necessarily switch concordantly.
Pandya, K; Cowhig, J; Brackhan, J; Kim, HS; Hagaman, J; Rojas, M; Carter, CW; Mao, L; Rockman, HA; Maeda, N; Smithies, O
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