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J Biol Chem. 2006 May 26;281(21):14882-92. Epub 2006 Mar 22.

p204 is required for the differentiation of P19 murine embryonal carcinoma cells to beating cardiac myocytes: its expression is activated by the cardiac Gata4, Nkx2.5, and Tbx5 proteins.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520-8024, USA.


Among 10 adult mouse tissues tested, the p204 protein levels were highest in heart and skeletal muscle. We described previously that the MyoD-inducible p204 protein is required for the differentiation of cultured murine C2C12 skeletal muscle myoblasts to myotubes. Here we report that p204 was also required for the differentiation of cultured P19 murine embryonal carcinoma stem cells to beating cardiac myocytes. As shown by others, this process can be triggered by dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). We established that DMSO induced the formation of 204RNA and p204. Ectopic p204 could partially substitute for DMSO in inducing differentiation, whereas ectopic 204 antisense RNA inhibited the differentiation. Experiments with reporter constructs, including regulatory regions from the Ifi204 gene (encoding p204) in P19 cells and in cultured newborn rat cardiac myocytes, as well as chromatin coimmunoprecipitations with transcription factors, revealed that p204 expression was synergistically transactivated by the cardiac Gata4, Nkx2.5, and Tbx5 transcription factors. Furthermore, ectopic p204 triggered the expression of Gata4 and Nkx2.5 in P19 cells. p204 contains a nuclear export signal and was partially translocated to the cytoplasm during the differentiation. p204 from which the nuclear export signal was deleted was not translocated, and it did not induce differentiation. The various mechanisms by which p204 promoted the differentiation are reported in the accompanying article (Ding, B., Liu, C., Huang, Y., Yu, J., Kong, W., and Lengyel, P. (2006) J. Biol. Chem. 281, 14893-14906).

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