Cardiac Transcription Networks

Cardiac and skeletal muscle development is a finely tuned process that requires a precise control of gene expression, which is regulated by the interplay of transcription factors, histone modifications and chromatin remodeling complexes.

Studying murine cardiomyocytes, we could show the interdependency of key cardiac transcription factors (Gata4, Mef2a, Nkx2.5, and Srf), activating histone modifications (H3ac, H4ac, H3K4me2, and H3K4me3) and microRNA expression. However, it is widely unknown which impact the exact position of histone marks (relative to the transcription start site) has on cardiac and skeletal muscle gene expression.

To elucidate this question, we determined the genomic binding profiles of three histone marks as well as the RNA expression in murine myoblasts and differentiated myotubes. Computational analysis and integration of the data showed that a position-dependent profile of histone modifications marks muscle tissue specific genes, which will hopefully enhance our understanding of muscle maturation.