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J Biol Chem. 1990 Mar 5;265(7):3595-8.

Stretching cardiac myocytes stimulates protooncogene expression.

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  • 1Third Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.


Recently cellular protooncogenes have been found to be induced as an early response to pressure overload in cardiac hypertrophy. To examine whether mechanical stimuli directly induce specific gene expression in the heart, we cultured rat neonatal cardiocytes in elastic silicone dishes and stretched these adherent cells. Myocyte stretching stimulated expression of the protooncogene, c-fos, in a stretch length-dependent manner, followed by an increase in amino acid incorporation into proteins. c-fos mRNA levels were enhanced within 15 min by cardiocyte stretching, peaked at 30 min, and declined to undetectable levels by 240 min. In the presence of cycloheximide, a greater increase in c-fos mRNA was seen by stretching. The transfected chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene linked to upstream sequences of the fos gene including its promoter was also activated by stretching cardiac myocytes. These results suggest that mechanical loading directly regulates gene transcription without the participation of humoral factors in cardiocytes.

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