Coordinated cardiomyocyte growth, differentiation, and morphogenesis are essential for heart formation. We demonstrate that the bHLH transcription factors Hand1 and Hand2 play critical regulatory roles for left ventricle (LV) cardiomyocyte proliferation and morphogenesis. Using an LV-specific Cre allele (Hand1LV-Cre), we ablate Hand1-lineage cardiomyocytes, revealing that DTA-mediated cardiomyocyte death results in a hypoplastic LV by E10.5. Once Hand1-linage cells are removed from the LV, and Hand1 expression is switched off, embryonic hearts recover by E16.5. In contrast, conditional LV loss-of-function of both Hand1 and Hand2 results in aberrant trabeculation and thickened compact zone myocardium resulting from enhanced proliferation and a breakdown of compact zone/trabecular/ventricular septal identity. Surviving Hand1;Hand2 mutants display diminished cardiac function that is rescued by concurrent ablation of Hand-null cardiomyocytes. Collectively, we conclude that, within a mixed cardiomyocyte population, removal of defective myocardium and replacement with healthy endogenous cardiomyocytes may provide an effective strategy for cardiac repair.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research