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Cell. 2000 Jun 23;101(7):729-39.

FOG-2, a cofactor for GATA transcription factors, is essential for heart morphogenesis and development of coronary vessels from epicardium.

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Division of Hematology-Oncology, Children's Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


We disrupted the FOG-2 gene in mice to define its requirement in vivo. FOG-2(-/-) embryos die at midgestation with a cardiac defect characterized by a thin ventricular myocardium, common atrioventricular canal, and the tetralogy of Fallot malformation. Remarkably, coronary vasculature is absent in FOG-2(-/-) hearts. Despite formation of an intact epicardial layer and expression of epicardium-specific genes, markers of cardiac vessel development (ICAM-2 and FLK-1) are not detected, indicative of failure to activate their expression and/or to initiate the epithelial to mesenchymal transformation of epicardial cells. Transgenic reexpression of FOG-2 in cardiomyocytes rescues the FOG-2(-/-) vascular phenotype, demonstrating that FOG-2 function in myocardium is required and sufficient for coronary vessel development. Our findings provide the molecular inroad into the induction of coronary vasculature by myocardium in the developing heart.

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