Essential role of Cdc42 in cardiomyocyte proliferation and cell-cell adhesion during heart development
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Cdc42 is a member of the Rho GTPase family and functions as a molecular switch in regulating cell migration, proliferation, differentiation and survival. However, the role of Cdc42 in heart development remains largely unknown. To determine the function of Cdc42 in heart formation, we have generated a Cdc42 cardiomyocyte knockout (CCKO) mouse line by crossing Cdc42 flox mice with myosin light chain (MLC) 2a-Cre mice. The inactivation of Cdc42 in embryonic cardiomyocytes induced lethality after embryonic day 12.5. Histological analysis of CCKO embryos showed cardiac developmental defects that included thin ventricular walls and ventricular septum defects. Microarray and real-time PCR data also revealed that the expression level of p21 was significantly increased and cyclin B1 was dramatically decreased, suggesting that Cdc42 is required for cardiomyocyte proliferation. Phosphorylated Histone H3 staining confirmed that the inactivation of Cdc42 inhibited cardiomyocytes proliferation. In addition, transmission electron microscope studies showed disorganized sarcomere structure and disruption of cell-cell contact among cardiomyocytes in CCKO hearts. Accordingly, we found that the distribution of N-cadherin/β-Catenin in CCKO cardiomyocytes was impaired. Taken together, our data indicate that Cdc42 is essential for cardiomyocyte proliferation, sarcomere organization and cell-cell adhesion during heart development.
author list (cited authors)
Li, J., Liu, Y., Jin, Y., Wang, R., Wang, J., Lu, S., ... Peng, X. u.