WNT signaling promotes Nkx2.5 expression and early cardiomyogenesis via downregulation of Hdac1

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Feb;1793(2):300-11. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2008.08.013. Epub 2008 Sep 11.


The cardiac transcription factor NKX2.5 plays a crucial role in cardiomyogenesis, but its mechanism of regulation is still unclear. Recently, epigenetic regulation has become increasingly recognized as important in differentiation and development. In this study, we used P19CL6 cells to investigate the regulation of Nkx2.5 expression by methylation and acetylation during cardiomyocyte differentiation. During the early stage of differentiation, Nkx2.5 expression was upregulated, but the methylation status of the Nkx2.5 promoter did not undergo significant change; while the acetylation levels of histones H3 and H4 were increased, accompanied by a significant reduction in Hdac1 expression. Suppression of Hdac1 activity stimulated cardiac differentiation accompanied by increased expression of cardiac-specific genes and cell cycle arrest. Overexpression of Hdac1 inhibited cardiomyocyte formation and downregulated the expressions of Gata4 and Nkx2.5. Mimicking induction of the WNT pathway inhibited Hdac1 expression with upregulated Nkx2.5 expression. WNT3a and WNT3 downregulated the expression of Hdac1, contrary to the effect of SFRP2 and GSK3beta. Cotransfection of beta-catenin and Lef1 significantly downregulated the expression of Hdac1. Our data suggest that WNT signaling pathway plays important roles in the regulation of Hdac1 during the early stage of cardiomyocyte differentiation and that the downregulation of Hdac1 promotes cardiac differentiation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation
  • CpG Islands / genetics
  • DNA Methylation
  • Down-Regulation / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Histone Deacetylase 1
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism*
  • Histones
  • Homeobox Protein Nkx-2.5
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Lymphoid Enhancer-Binding Factor 1 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / enzymology
  • Phenotype
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Up-Regulation / genetics
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • Histones
  • Homeobox Protein Nkx-2.5
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Lef1 protein, mouse
  • Lymphoid Enhancer-Binding Factor 1
  • Nkx2-5 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors
  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • Hdac1 protein, mouse
  • Histone Deacetylase 1
  • Histone Deacetylases