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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Foxh1 is essential for development of the anterior heart field.

The anterior heart field (AHF) mediates formation of the outflow tract (OFT) and right ventricle (RV) during looping morphogenesis of the heart. Foxh1 is a forkhead DNA binding transcription factor in the TGFbeta-Smad pathway. Here we demonstrate that Foxh1-/- mutant mouse embryos form a primitive heart tube, but fail to form OFT and RV and display loss of outer curvature markers of the future working myocardium, similar to the phenotype of Mef2c-/- mutant hearts. Further, we show that Mef2c is a direct target of Foxh1, which physically and functionally interacts with Nkx2-5 to mediate strong Smad-dependent activation of a TGFbeta response element in the Mef2c gene. This element directs transgene expression to the presumptive AHF, as well as the RV and OFT, a pattern that closely parallels endogenous Mef2c expression in the heart. Thus, Foxh1 and Nkx2-5 functionally interact and are essential for development of the AHF and its derivatives, the RV and OFT, in response to TGFbeta-like signals.[1]


  1. Foxh1 is essential for development of the anterior heart field. von Both, I., Silvestri, C., Erdemir, T., Lickert, H., Walls, J.R., Henkelman, R.M., Rossant, J., Harvey, R.P., Attisano, L., Wrana, J.L. Dev. Cell (2004) [Pubmed]
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