Abstract 47: GATA Factors Caught at a Crossroad of Gene Duplication with Functional Divergence
Background Six individual members comprise the GATA family of Zn finger-containing transcription factors that play major roles in the hematopoietic system and many mesoderm and endoderm derived tissues. The adult heart expresses both GATA4 and GATA6. Here, we examined the overlapping and diverging functional roles of GATA4 and GATA6 in the adult heart, both at baseline and under stress.
Results Pressure overload by transverse aortic constriction (TAC) caused a blunted hypertrophic response when GATA4 was deleted from the adult heart, with severe heart failure ensuing after 4 weeks. Similarly, deletion of GATA6 from the mouse heart showed a blunted hypertrophic response and heart failure. Next, we deleted 1 allele of GATA4 and 1 allele of GATA6 from the adult heart, also resulting in blunted hypertrophy and cardiac dysfunction. Deletion of all four alleles of GATA4 and 6 resulted in spontaneous heart failure and death by 3 months of age.
These results suggested functional overlap or synergistic activation. To address this concept more directly we deleted GATA6 from the adult heart and overexpressed either GATA4 or GATA6 in a cardiac-specific manner. As expected, we were able to completely revert the phenotype to wild type when GATA6 was overexpressed in mice that had GATA6 genetically deleted. Surprisingly, overexpression of GATA4 was unable to rescue the absence of GATA6 and actually worsened cardiac function in response to pressure overload. Possible explanations for this functional divergence were suggested by an observed rarefaction in capillaries of the heart in absence of GATA4, but enhanced angiogenesis in absence of GATA6. Moreover, when we induced cardiac hypertrophy through MAPK activation, we observed a critical necessity for GATA4, while GATA6 was dispensable.
Conclusion Although GATA4 and 6 may be functionally complementary for cardiac gene expression and hypertrophy, they evolved some specific roles in the heart, such as angiogenesis and stress activation. We are currently unraveling how GATA4 and 6 may differentially regulate genes.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.