Development

Taking Gene Expression to Heart

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Science  13 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5528, pp. 175-177
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5528.175d

The availability of large databases of expressed sequence tags and tissue-specific cDNA libraries has greatly facilitated the identification of novel factors regulating the development and function of individual tissues and organs. The power of this approach is illustrated by Wang et al., who used a bioinformatics-based screen to find a previously elusive transcription factor that selectively turns on gene expression in heart muscle. The new protein, designated myocardin, potently activated transcription of heart and smooth muscle genes through its physical association with another, more widely expressed, transcription factor called serum response factor (SRF). Studies in developing mice and Xenopus embryos revealed that myocardin is expressed exclusively in the myocardium after birth and is required for myocardial cell differentiation. It remains to be established whether myocardin participates in signaling pathways that are disrupted in human heart disease. — PAK

Cell105, 851 (2001).

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