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    Foxc1 Regulates Early Cardiomyogenesis and Functional Properties of Embryonic Stem Cell Derived Cardiomyocytes. Lambers Erin,Arnone Baron,Fatima Anees,Qin Gangjian,Wasserstrom J Andrew,Kume Tsutomu Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio) Embryonic Stem Cells (ESCs) hold great potential for regeneration of damaged myocardium, however the molecular circuitry that guides ESC differentiation into cardiomyocytes remains poorly understood. This is exemplified by the elusive role of the transcription factor, Foxc1, during cardiac development. The only known Foxc1 target during heart development is Tbx1. Because Foxc1 null mice contain heart mutations that are far more severe than Tbx1 null mice, it is likely that Foxc1 has additional regulatory roles during heart development. The goal of our study was to test whether Foxc1 is critical for ESC differentiation into functional cardiomyocytes through proper regulation of specific downstream gene networks. Converging evidence from Foxc1 deficient and overexpression ESC models reveals a close relationship between Foxc1 levels and early cardiomyogenic factors Isl1, Mef2c, and Nkx2.5 and also the production of functional cardiomyocytes. We show Foxc1 regulates early cardiomyogenesis during a specific window of differentiation, D4-D6. Through whole transcriptome RNA-sequencing analysis, we report pathways regulated by Foxc1 involved in cardiac function including actin cytoskeleton, cell adhesion, tight and gap junctions, and calcium signaling. Our data indicate a novel Foxc1 direct gene target, Myh7, which encodes the predominant myosin heavy chain isoform, MHCβ, expressed during cardiac development. These data lead us to conclude that Foxc1 regulates both early cardiomyogenesis and the functional properties of ESC-derived cardiomyocytes. Our findings shed light on the molecular circuitry governing cardiomyogenesis that may lead to the development of better translational strategies for the use of pluripotent stem cells in regenerative medicine towards repairing damaged myocardium. Stem Cells 2016;34:1487-1500. 10.1002/stem.2301
    Conditional inactivation of Foxc1 and Foxc2 in neural crest cells leads to cardiac abnormalities. Sanchez Joshua,Miyake Risa,Cheng Andrew,Liu Ting,Iseki Sachiko,Kume Tsutomu Genesis (New York, N.Y. : 2000) Cardiac neural crest cells (cNCCs) are required for normal heart development. cNCCs are a multipotent and migratory cell lineage that differentiates into multiple cell types. cNCCs migrate into the developing heart to contribute to the septation of the cardiac outflow tract (OFT). Foxc1 and Foxc2 are closely related members of the FOX (Forkhead box) transcription factor family and are expressed in cNCC during heart development. However, the precise role of Foxc1 and Foxc2 in cNCCs has yet to be fully described. We found that compound NCC-specific Foxc1;Foxc2 mutant embryos exhibited persistent truncus arteriosus (PTA), ventricular septal defects (VSDs), and thinning of the ventricular myocardium. Loss of Foxc1/c2 expression in cNCCs resulted in abnormal patterns of cNCC migration into the OFT without the formation of the aorticopulmonary septum. Further, loss of Foxc1 expression in cNCCs resulted in normal OFT development but abnormal ventricular septal formation. In contrast, loss of Foxc2 expression in NCCs led to no obvious cardiac abnormalities. Together, we provide evidence that Foxc1 and Foxc2 in cNCCs are cooperatively required for proper cNCC migration, the formation of the OFT septation, and the development of the ventricles. Our data also suggests that Foxc1 expression may play a larger role in ventricular development compared to Foxc2. 10.1002/dvg.23364