Epigenetic regulation of cardiac development and function by polycomb group and trithorax group proteins


  • Q. Tian Wang

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
    • Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, 900 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60607
    Search for more papers by this author


Heart disease is a leading cause of death and disability in developed countries. Heart disease includes a broad range of diseases that affect the development and/or function of the cardiovascular system. Some of these diseases, such as congenital heart defects, are present at birth. Others develop over time and may be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Many of the known heart diseases are associated with abnormal expression of genes. Understanding the factors and mechanisms that regulate gene expression in the heart is essential for the detection, treatment, and prevention of heart diseases. Polycomb Group (PcG) and Trithorax Group (TrxG) proteins are special families of chromatin factors that regulate developmental gene expression in many tissues and organs. Accumulating evidence suggests that these proteins are important regulators of development and function of the heart as well. A better understanding of their roles and functional mechanisms will translate into new opportunities for combating heart disease. Developmental Dynamics 241:1021–1033, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.