Cardiogenesis requires proper specification, proliferation, and differentiation of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs). The differentiation of CPCs to specific cardiac cell types is likely guided by a comprehensive network comprised of cardiac transcription factors and epigenetic complexes. In this review, we describe how the ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling SWI/SNF complexes work synergistically with transcription and epigenetic factors to direct specific cardiac gene expression during CPC differentiation. Furthermore, we discuss how SWI/SNF may prime chromatin for cardiac gene expression at a genome-wide level. A detailed understanding of SWI/SNF-mediated CPC differentiation will provide important insight into the etiology of cardica defects and help design novel therapies for heart disease. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 2437–2445, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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