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SMAD-mediated modulation of YY1 activity regulates the BMP response and cardiac-specific expression of a GATA4/5/6-dependent chick Nkx2.5 enhancer.

Lee K.H., Evans S., Ruan T.Y., Lassar A.B.

Prior work has indicated that BMP signals act in concert with FGF8, WNT11 and WNT antagonists to induce the formation of cardiac tissue in the vertebrate embryo. In an effort to understand how these signaling pathways control the expression of key cardiac regulators, we have characterized the cis-regulatory elements of the chick tinman homolog chick Nkx2.5. We find that at least three distinct cardiac activating regions (CARs) of chick Nkx2.5 cooperate to regulate early expression in the cardiac crescent and later segmental expression in the developing heart. In this report, we focus our attention on a 3' BMP-responsive enhancer, termed CAR3, which directs robust cardiac transgene expression. By systematic mutagenesis and gel shift analysis of this enhancer, we demonstrate that GATA4/5/6, YY1 and SMAD1/4 are all necessary for BMP-mediated induction and heart-specific expression of CAR3. Adjacent YY1 and SMAD-binding sites within CAR3 constitute a minimal BMP response element, and interaction of SMAD1/4 with the N terminus of YY1 is required for BMP-mediated induction of CAR3. Our data suggest that BMP-mediated activation of this regulatory region reflects both the induction of GATA genes by BMP signals, as well as modulation of the transcriptional activity of YY1 by direct interaction of this transcription factor with BMP-activated SMADs.

Development 131:4709-4723(2004) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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