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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006 May;290(5):H1997-2006.

Transcription factor CHF1/Hey2 suppresses cardiac hypertrophy through an inhibitory interaction with GATA4.

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  • 1Vascular Medicine Research Unit, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Pathological cardiac hypertrophy is considered a precursor to clinical heart failure. Understanding the transcriptional regulators that suppress the hypertrophic response may have profound implications for the treatment of heart disease. We report the generation of transgenic mice that overexpress the transcription factor CHF1/Hey2 in the myocardium. In response to the alpha-adrenergic agonist phenylephrine, they show marked attenuation in the hypertrophic response compared with wild-type controls, even though blood pressure is similar in both groups. Isolated myocytes from transgenic mice demonstrate a similar resistance to phenylephrine-induced hypertrophy in vitro, providing further evidence that the protective effect of CHF1/Hey2 is mediated at the myocyte level. Induction of the hypertrophy marker genes ANF, BNP, and beta-MHC in the transgenic cells is concurrently suppressed in vivo and in vitro, demonstrating that the induction of hypertrophy-associated genes is repressed by CHF1/Hey2. Transfection of CHF1/Hey2 into neonatal cardiomyocytes suppresses activation of an ANF reporter plasmid by the transcription factor GATA4, which has previously been shown to activate a hypertrophic transcriptional program. Furthermore, CHF1/Hey2 binds GATA4 directly in coimmunoprecipitation assays and inhibits the binding of GATA4 to its recognition sequence within the ANF promoter. Our findings demonstrate that CHF1/Hey2 functions as an antihypertrophic gene, possibly through inhibition of a GATA4-dependent hypertrophic program.

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