Nkx2-5 is one of the master regulators of cardiac development, homeostasis and disease. This transcription factor has been previously associated with a suite of cardiac congenital malformations and impairment of electrical activity. When disease causative mutations in transcription factors are considered, NKX2-5 gene dysfunction is the most common abnormality found in patients. Here we describe a novel mouse model and subsequent implications of Nkx2-5 loss for aspects of myocardial electrical activity. In this work we have engineered a new Nkx2-5 conditional knockout mouse in which flox sites flank the entire Nkx2-5 locus, and validated this line for the study of heart development, differentiation and disease using a full deletion strategy. While our homozygous knockout mice show typical embryonic malformations previously described for the lack of the Nkx2-5 gene, hearts of heterozygous adult mice show moderate morphological and functional abnormalities that are sufficient to sustain blood supply demands under homeostatic conditions. This study further reveals intriguing aspects of Nkx2-5 function in the control of cardiac electrical activity. Using a combination of mouse genetics, biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, we demonstrate that Nkx2-5 regulates the gene encoding Kcnh2 channel and others, shedding light on potential mechanisms generating electrical abnormalities observed in patients bearing NKX2-5 dysfunction and opening opportunities to the study of novel therapeutic targets for anti-arrhythmogenic therapies.
Furtado, M. B.
, Wilmanns, J., Chandran, A., Tonta, M. A., Biben, C., Eichenlaub, M. P., ... Da Costa, M. W.
(2016). A novel conditional mouse model for Nkx2-5 reveals transcriptional regulation of cardiac ion channels
(1-3), 29 - 41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.diff.2015.12.003