Many transcription factors regulate specific temporal-spatial events during cardiac differentiation; however, the mechanisms that regulate such events are largely unknown. Using a modified subtractive hybridization method to identify specific genes that influence early cardiac development, we found that Bop is expressed specifically in cardiac and skeletal muscle precursors before differentiation of these lineages. Bop encodes a protein containing MYND and SET domains, which have been shown to regulate transcription by mediating distinct chromatin modifications. We show that m-Bop is a histone deacetylase-dependent transcriptional repressor. Targeted deletion of Bop in mice disrupted maturation of ventricular cardiomyocytes and interfered with formation of the right ventricle. Normal expression of Hand2, a transcription factor essential for right ventricular development, in cardiomyocyte precursors is dependent upon m-Bop. These results indicate that m-Bop is essential for cardiomyocyte differentiation and cardiac morphogenesis.
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