D-mef2 is a target for Tinman activation during Drosophila heart development

Kathleen Gajewski, Yongsok Kim, Young Mi Lee, Eric N. Olson, Robert A. Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


The NK-type homeobox gene tinman and the MADS box gene D-mef2 encode transcription factors required for the development and differentiation of the Drosophila heart, and closely related genes regulate cardiogenesis in vertebrates. Genetic analyses indicate that tinman and D-mef2 act at early and late steps, respectively, in the cardiogenic lineage. However, it is unknown whether regulatory interactions exist between these developmental control genes. We show that D-mef2 expression in the developing Drosophila heart requires a novel upstream enhancer containing two Tinman binding sites, both of which are essential for enhancer function in cardiac muscle cells. Transcriptional activity of this cardiac enhancer is dependent on tinman function, and ectopic Tinman expression activates the enhancer outside the cardiac lineage. These results define the only known in vivo target for transcriptional activation by Tinman and demonstrate that D-mef2 lies directly downstream of tinman in the genetic cascade controlling heart formation in Drosophila.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-522
Number of pages8
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 3 1997


  • Cardiogenic factors
  • D-mef2
  • Heart
  • Transcriptional enhancer
  • tinman

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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