Regulation of the rat cardiac troponin I gene by the transcription factor GATA-4

Anne M. Murphy, W. Reid Thompson, Ling Fan Peng, Lawrence Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Troponin I is a thin-filament contractile protein expressed in striated muscle. There are three known troponin I genes which are expressed in a muscle-fibre-type-specific manner in mature animals. Although the slow skeletal troponin I isoform is expressed in fetal and neonatal heart, the cardiac isoform is restricted in its expression to the myocardium at all developmental stages. To study the regulation of this cardiac-specific and developmentally regulated gene in vitro, the rat cardiac troponin I gene was cloned. Transient transfection assays were performed with troponin I-luciferase fusion plasmids to characterize the regulatory regions of the gene. Proximal regions of the upstream sequence were sufficient to support high levels of expression of the reporter gene in cardiocytes and relatively low levels in other cell types. The highest luciferase activity in the cardiocytes was noted with a plasmid that included the region spanning - 896 to + 45 of the troponin I genomic sequence. Co-transfection of GATA-4, a recently identified cardiac transcription factor, with troponin I-luciferase constructs permitted high levels of luciferase expression in non-cardiac cells. Electrophoretic mobility-shift assays demonstrated specific binding of GATA-4 to oligonucleotides representative of multiple sites of the troponin I sequence. Mutation of a proximal GATA-4 DNA-binding site decreased transcriptional activation in transfected cardiocytes. These results indicate that the proximal cardiac troponin I sequence is sufficient to support high levels of cardiac specific gene expression and that the GATA-4 transcription factor regulates troponin I-luciferase expression in vitro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-401
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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