Organ growth occurs through the integration of external growth signals during the G1 phase of the cell cycle to initiate DNA replication. Although numerous growth factor signals have been shown to be required for the proliferation of cardiomyocytes, genetic studies have only identified a very limited number of transcription factors that act to regulate the entry of cardiomyocytes into S phase. Here, we report that the cardiac para-zinc-finger protein CASZ1 is expressed in murine cardiomyocytes. Genetic fate mapping with an inducible Casz1 allele demonstrates that CASZ1-expressing cells give rise to cardiomyocytes in the first and second heart fields. We show through the generation of a cardiac conditional null mutation that Casz1 is essential for the proliferation of cardiomyocytes in both heart fields and that loss of Casz1 leads to a decrease in cardiomyocyte cell number. We further report that the loss of Casz1 leads to a prolonged or arrested S phase, a decrease in DNA synthesis, an increase in phospho-RB and a concomitant decrease in the cardiac mitotic index. Taken together, these studies establish a role for CASZ1 in mammalian cardiomyocyte cell cycle progression in both the first and second heart fields.
Keywords: CASZ1; Cardiomyocyte; Congenital heart disease; First heart field; Heart development; Mouse; Proliferation; Second heart field.
© 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.