Critical roles of miRNA-mediated regulation of TGFβ signalling during mouse cardiogenesis

Yin Peng, Lanying Song, Mei Zhao, Cristina Harmelink, Paige Debenedittis, Xiangqin Cui, Qin Wang, Kai Jiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Aims MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play critical roles during the development of the cardiovascular system. Blocking miRNA biosynthesis in embryonic hearts through a conditional gene inactivation approach led to differential cardiac defects depending on the Cre drivers used in different studies. The goal of this study is to reveal the cardiogenic pathway that is regulated by the miRNA mechanism at midgestation, a stage that has not been evaluated in previous publications. Methods and results We specifically inactivated Dicer1, which is essential for generation of functional mature miRNAs, in the myocardium by crossing cTnt-Cre mice with Dicer1loxP mice. cTnt-Cre efficiently inactivates target genes in cardiomyocytes at midgestation. All mutants died between E14.5 and E16.5 with severe myocardial wall defects, including reduced cell proliferation, increased cell death, and spongy myocardial wall. Expression of TGFβ type I receptor (TGFβr1), which encodes the Type I receptor of TGFβ ligands, was up-regulated in mutant hearts. As expected, TGFβ activity was increased in Dicer1-inactivated hearts. Our further molecular analysis suggested that TGFβr1 is a direct target of three miRNAs. Reducing TGFβ activities using a pharmacological inhibitor on in vitro cultured hearts, or through an in vivo genetic approach, partially rescued the cardiac defects caused by Dicer1 inactivation. Conclusions We show for the first time that TGFβ signalling is directly regulated by the miRNA mechanism during myocardial wall morphogenesis. Increased TGFβ activity plays a major role in the cardiac defects caused by myocardial deletion of Dicer1. Thus, miRNA-mediated regulation of TGFβ signalling is indispensable for normal cardiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-267
Number of pages10
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiogenesis
  • MicroRNAs
  • TGFβ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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