Divergent transcriptional enhancer factor-1 regulates the cardiac troponin T promoter

Anthony Azakie, Lauren LaMont, Jeffrey R. Fineman, Youping He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


MCAT elements are essential for cardiac gene expression during development. Avian transcriptional enhancer factor-1 (TEF-1) proteins are muscle-enriched and contribute to MCAT binding activities. However, direct activation of MCAT-driven promoters by TEF-1-related proteins has not been uniformly achieved. Divergent TEF (DTEF)-1 is a unique member of the TEF-1 multigene family with abundant transcripts in the heart but not in skeletal muscle. Herein we show that DTEF-1 proteins are highly expressed in the heart. Protein expression is activated at very early stages of chick embryogenesis (Hamburger-Hamilton stage 4, 16-18 h), after which DTEF-1 becomes abundant in the sinus venosus and is expressed in the trabeculated ventricular myocardium and ventricular outflow tracts. By chromatin immunoprecipitation, DTEF-1 interacts with the cardiac troponin T (cTnT) promoter in vivo. DTEF-1 also interacts with MEF-2 by coimmunoprecipitation and independently or cooperatively (with MEF-2) trans-activates the cTnT promoter. DTEF-1 isoforms do not activate the cTnT promoter in fibroblasts or skeletal muscle. DTEF-1 expression occurs very early in chick embryogenesis (16-18 h), preceding sarcomeric protein expression, and it activates cardiac promoters. As such, DTEF-1 may be an early marker of the myocardial phenotype. DTEF-1 trans-activates the cTnT promoter in a tissue-specific fashion independent of AT-rich, MEF-2, or GATA sites. The observed spatial pattern suggests decreasing levels of expression from the cardiac inlet to the ventricular outflow tracts, which may mark a cardiogenic or differentiation pathway that parallels the direction of flow through the developing chick heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C1522-C1534
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number6 58-6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Cardiac differentiation
  • Cell specification
  • MCAT sites
  • Monocyte enhancer factor-2


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