Ph.D., University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Differentiated cardiomyocytes (CMs) must undergo diverse morphological and functional changes during postnatal development. However, the mechanisms underlying initiation and coordination of these changes remain unclear. Here, we delineate an integrated, time-ordered transcriptional network that begins with expression of genes for cell-cell connections and leads to a sequence of structural, cell-cycle, functional, and metabolic transitions in mouse postnatal hearts. Depletion of histone H2B ubiquitin ligase RNF20 disrupts this gene network and impairs CM polarization. Subsequently, assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq) analysis confirmed that RNF20 contributes to chromatin accessibility in this context. As such, RNF20 is likely to facilitate binding of transcription factors at the promoters of genes involved in cell-cell connections and actin organization, which are crucial for CM polarization and functional integration. These results suggest that CM polarization is one of the earliest events during postnatal heart development and provide insights into how RNF20 regulates CM polarity and the postnatal gene program.