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Development. 2013 Apr;140(8):1639-44. doi: 10.1242/dev.093260. Epub 2013 Mar 13.

GATA factors efficiently direct cardiac fate from embryonic stem cells.

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Department of Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10065, USA.


The GATA4 transcription factor is implicated in promoting cardiogenesis in combination with other factors, including TBX5, MEF2C and BAF60C. However, when expressed in embryonic stem cells (ESCs), GATA4 was shown to promote endoderm, not cardiac mesoderm. The capacity of related GATA factors to promote cardiogenesis is untested. We found that expression of the highly related gene, Gata5, very efficiently promotes cardiomyocyte fate from murine ESCs. Gata5 directs development of beating sheets of cells that express cardiac troponin T and show a full range of action potential morphologies that are responsive to pharmacological stimulation. We discovered that by removing serum from the culture conditions, GATA4 and GATA6 are each also able to efficiently promote cardiogenesis in ESC derivatives, with some distinctions. Thus, GATA factors can function in ESC derivatives upstream of other cardiac transcription factors to direct the efficient generation of cardiomyocytes.

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