The long-range goal of this project is to elucidate the homeoprotein Nkx2.5-dependent regulatory pathways in postnatal cardiomyocytes. Particularly we are focusing on direct involvement of this factor in controlling expression of downstream target genes as a prerequisite to the onset of cardiac disease. In the mouse, Nkx2.5 is expressed throughout heart development from precardiac mesoderm cells to mature adult cardiomyocytes. Mutations in human NKX2.5 cause progressive conduction defects, various cardiac anomalies and occasional left ventricular dysfunction suggesting that this transcription factor plays important roles in formation of the developing heart as well as in maintenance of normal cardiac function after birth. In addition, Nkx2.5 upregulation in acquired heart diseases including cardiac hypertrophy has been addressed. These studies indicate that misregulated expression of Nkx2.5 leads to various sequential pathogenic events. Our hypothesis is that Nkx2.5 actively regulates a critical set of genes in postnatal cardiomyocytes to maintain proper cardiac function. This is supported by preliminary data demonstrating that neonatal Nkx2.5-knockdown cardiomyocytes appear to have altered cytoskeletal organization, and adult Nkx2.5- knockdown cardiomyocytes show reduced contraction and Ca2+ handling. We propose to define Nkx2.5- dependent regulatory pathways at a molecular level in two focused areas, cardiac contraction and conduction, at two different cardiac developmental stages, neonatal (Aim 1) and adult (Aim 2). In addition, these effects observed in a single cardiomyocyte will be directly tested in in vivo whole hearts by transcoronary RNAi-virus delivery (Aim 2). Finally, we will elucidate the involvement of Nkx2.5 in the transcriptional regulation of target genes in vivo through the specific Nkx2.5-DNA binding sequence(s) and the role of Nkx2.5 in the formation of transcription complexes at promoters (Aim 3).
Three Specific Aims are proposed:
Specific Aim 1 : Identify biological roles of Nkx2.5 in neonatal cardiomyocytes using RNAi-mediated gene knockdown.
Specific Aim 2 : Identify biological roles of Nkx2.5 in adult cardiomyocytes as well as in in vivo heart by transcoronary gene transfer of adenoviral RNAi.
Specific Aim 3 : Determine molecular mechanisms of Nkx2.5-dependent gene regulation of the GO/G1 switch gene 2, GOS2.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Cardiac Contractility, Hypertrophy, and Failure Study Section (CCHF)
Program Officer
Schramm, Charlene A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Florida
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Massengill, Michael T; Ashraf, Hassan M; Chowdhury, Rajib R et al. (2016) Acute heart failure with cardiomyocyte atrophy induced in adult mice by ablation of cardiac myosin light chain kinase. Cardiovasc Res 111:34-43
Chowdhury, Rajib; Ashraf, Hassan; Melanson, Michelle et al. (2015) Mouse Model of Human Congenital Heart Disease: Progressive Atrioventricular Block Induced by a Heterozygous Nkx2-5 Homeodomain Missense Mutation. Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 8:1255-64
Ashraf, Hassan; Pradhan, Lagnajeet; Chang, Eileen I et al. (2014) A mouse model of human congenital heart disease: high incidence of diverse cardiac anomalies and ventricular noncompaction produced by heterozygous Nkx2-5 homeodomain missense mutation. Circ Cardiovasc Genet 7:423-433
Pradhan, Lagnajeet; Genis, Caroli; Scone, Peyton et al. (2012) Crystal structure of the human NKX2.5 homeodomain in complex with DNA target. Biochemistry 51:6312-9
Cole-Jeffrey, Colleen T; Terada, Ryota; Neth, Matthew R et al. (2012) Progressive anatomical closure of foramen ovale in normal neonatal mouse hearts. Anat Rec (Hoboken) 295:764-8
Warren, Sonisha A; Briggs, Laura E; Zeng, Huadong et al. (2012) Myosin light chain phosphorylation is critical for adaptation to cardiac stress. Circulation 126:2575-88
Terada, Ryota; Warren, Sonisha; Lu, Jonathan T et al. (2011) Ablation of Nkx2-5 at mid-embryonic stage results in premature lethality and cardiac malformation. Cardiovasc Res 91:289-99
Warren, Sonisha A; Terada, Ryota; Briggs, Laura E et al. (2011) Differential role of Nkx2-5 in activation of the atrial natriuretic factor gene in the developing versus failing heart. Mol Cell Biol 31:4633-45
Takeda, Morihiko; Briggs, Laura E; Wakimoto, Hiroko et al. (2009) Slow progressive conduction and contraction defects in loss of Nkx2-5 mice after cardiomyocyte terminal differentiation. Lab Invest 89:983-93
Genis, Caroli; Scone, Peyton; Kasahara, Hideko et al. (2008) Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of the NKX2.5 homeodomain in complex with DNA. Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun 64:1079-82

Showing the most recent 10 out of 13 publications