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J Biol Chem. 2001 Oct 26;276(43):40033-40. Epub 2001 Aug 20.

Early postnatal cardiac changes and premature death in transgenic mice overexpressing a mutant form of serum response factor.

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Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Serum response factor (SRF) is a key regulator of a number of extracellular signal-regulated genes important for cell growth and differentiation. A form of the SRF gene with a double mutation (dmSRF) was generated. This mutation reduced the binding activity of SRF protein to the serum response element and reduced the capability of SRF to activate the atrial natriuretic factor promoter that contains the serum response element. Cardiac-specific overexpression of dmSRF attenuated the total SRF binding activity and resulted in remarkable morphologic changes in the heart of the transgenic mice. These mice had dilated atrial and ventricular chambers, and their ventricular wall thicknesses were only 1/2 to 1/3 the thickness of that of nontransgenic mice. Also these mice had smaller cardiac myocytes and had less myofibrils in their myocytes relative to nontransgenic mice. Altered gene expression and slight interstitial fibrosis were observed in the myocardium of the transgenic mice. All the transgenic mice died within the first 12 days after birth, because of the early onset of severe, dilated cardiomyopathy. These results indicate that dmSRF overexpression in the heart apparently alters cardiac gene expression and blocks normal postnatal cardiac growth and development.

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