Identification and characterization of distinct cell cycle stages in cardiomyocytes using the FUCCI transgenic system

Exp Cell Res. 2021 Nov 15;408(2):112880. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2021.112880. Epub 2021 Oct 14.


Understanding the regulatory mechanism by which cardiomyocyte proliferation transitions to endoreplication and cell cycle arrest during the neonatal period is crucial for identifying proproliferative factors and developing regenerative therapies. We used a transgenic mouse model based on the fluorescent ubiquitination-based cell cycle indicator (FUCCI) system to isolate and characterize cycling cardiomyocytes at different cell cycle stages at a single-cell resolution. Single-cell transcriptome analysis of cycling and noncycling cardiomyocytes was performed at postnatal days 0 (P0) and 7 (P7). The FUCCI system proved to be efficient for the identification of cycling cardiomyocytes with the highest mitotic activity at birth, followed by a gradual decline in the number of cycling and mitotic cardiomyocytes during the neonatal period. Cardiomyocytes showed premature cell cycle exit at G1/S shortly after birth and delayed G1/S progression during endoreplication at P7. Single-cell RNA-seq confirmed previously described signaling pathways involved in cardiomyocyte proliferation (Erbb2 and Hippo/YAP), and maturation-related transcriptional changes during postnatal development, including the metabolic switch from glycolysis to fatty acid oxidation in cardiomyocytes. Importantly, we generated transcriptional profiles specific to cell division and endoreplication in cardiomyocytes at different developmental stages that may facilitate the identification of genes important for adult cardiomyocyte proliferation and heart regeneration. In conclusion, the FUCCI mouse provides a valuable system to study cardiomyocyte cell cycle activity at single cell resolution that can help to decipher the switch from cardiomyocyte proliferation to endoreplication, and to revert this process to facilitate endogenous repair.

Keywords: Cardiomyocyte; Cell cycle; Cell cycle indicator; Endoreplication; FUCCI; Neonatal heart.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't