Cardiac hypertrophy and histone deacetylase-dependent transcriptional repression mediated by the atypical homeodomain protein Hop

J Clin Invest. 2003 Sep;112(6):863-71. doi: 10.1172/JCI19137.


Activation of multiple pathways is associated with cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. Repression of antihypertrophic pathways has rarely been demonstrated to cause cardiac hypertrophy in vivo. Hop is an unusual homeodomain protein that is expressed by embryonic and postnatal cardiac myocytes. Unlike other homeodomain proteins, Hop does not bind DNA. Rather, it modulates cardiac growth and proliferation by inhibiting the transcriptional activity of serum response factor (SRF) in cardiomyocytes. Here we show that Hop can inhibit SRF-dependent transcriptional activation by recruiting histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity and can form a complex that includes HDAC2. Transgenic mice that overexpress Hop develop severe cardiac hypertrophy, cardiac fibrosis, and premature death. A mutant form of Hop, which does not recruit HDAC activity, does not induce hypertrophy. Treatment of Hop transgenic mice with trichostatin A, an HDAC inhibitor, prevents hypertrophy. In addition, trichostatin A also attenuates hypertrophy induced by infusion of isoproterenol. Thus, chromatin remodeling and repression of otherwise active transcriptional processes can result in hypertrophy and heart failure, and this process can be blocked with chemical HDAC inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiomegaly / genetics
  • Cardiomegaly / metabolism*
  • Cardiotonic Agents / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hemodynamics
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Isoproterenol / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Serum Response Factor / genetics
  • Serum Response Factor / metabolism
  • Survival Rate
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Hop protein, mouse
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Serum Response Factor
  • Histone Deacetylases
  • Isoproterenol