Homeobox transcription factor Nkx2-5, highly expressed in heart, is a critical factor during early embryonic cardiac development. In this study, using tamoxifen-inducible Nkx2-5 knockout mice, we demonstrate the role of Nkx2-5 in conduction and contraction in neonates within 4 days after perinatal tamoxifen injection. Conduction defect was accompanied by reduction in ventricular expression of the cardiac voltage-gated Na channel pore-forming α-subunit (Nav1.5-α), the largest ion channel in the heart responsive for rapid depolarization of the action potential, which leads to increased intracellular Ca for contraction (conduction-contraction coupling). In addition, expression of ryanodine receptor 2, through which Ca is released from sarcoplasmic reticulum, was substantially reduced in Nkx2-5 knockout mice. These results indicate that Nkx2-5 function is critical not only during cardiac development but also in perinatal hearts, by regulating expression of several important gene products involved in conduction and contraction.
- Gene targeting
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine