Myocardin is a master regulator of smooth muscle gene expression

Zhigao Wang, Da Zhi Wang, G. C Teg Pipes, Eric N. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

433 Scopus citations


Virtually all smooth muscle genes analyzed to date contain two or more essential binding sites for serum response factor (SRF) in their control regions. Because SRF is expressed in a wide range of cell types, it alone cannot account for smooth muscle-specific gene expression. We show that myocardin, a cardiac muscle- and smooth muscle-specific transcriptional coactivator of SRF, can activate smooth muscle gene expression in a variety of nonmuscle cell types via its association with SRF. Homodimerization of myocardin is required for maximal transcriptional activity and provides a mechanism for cooperative activation of smooth muscle genes by SRF-myocardin complexes bound to different SRF binding sites. These findings identify myocardin as a master regulator of smooth muscle gene expression and explain how SRF conveys smooth muscle specificity to its target genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7129-7134
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 10 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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