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Dev Biol. 2006 Jan 15;289(2):482-93. Epub 2005 Nov 28.

Fog1 is required for cardiac looping in zebrafish.

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Department of Medicine, Section of Cardiology, University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Ave, MC6088, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


To further our understanding of FOG gene function during cardiac development, we utilized zebrafish to examine FOG's role in the early steps of heart morphogenesis. We identified fragments of three fog genes in the zebrafish genomic database and isolated full-length coding sequences for each of these genes by using a combination of RT-PCR and 5'-RACE. One gene was similar to murine FOG-1 (fog1), while the remaining two were similar to murine FOG-2 (fog2a and fog2b). All Fog proteins were able to physically interact with GATA4 and function as transcriptional co-repressors. Whole-mount in situ hybridization revealed fog1 expression in the heart, the hematopoietic system, and the brain, while fog2a and fog2b expression was restricted to the brain. Injection of zebrafish embryos with a morpholino directed against fog1 resulted in embryos with a large pericardial effusion and an unlooped heart tube. This looping defect could be rescued by co-injection of mRNA encoding murine FOG-1, but not by mRNA encoding FOG-1 lacking the FOG repression motif. Taken together, these results demonstrate the importance of FOG proteins for zebrafish cardiac development and suggest a previously unappreciated role for FOG proteins in heart looping that is dependent on the FOG repression motif.

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