Hey2 gene mutations in both humans and mice have been associated with multiple cardiac defects. However, the currently reported localization of Hey2 in the ventricular compact zone cannot explain the wide variety of cardiac defects. Furthermore, it was reported that, in contrast to other organs, Notch doesn't regulate Hey2 in the heart. To determine the expression pattern and the regulation of Hey2, we used novel methods including RNAscope and a Hey2 CreERT2 knockin line to precisely determine the spatiotemporal expression pattern and level of Hey2 during cardiac development. We found that Hey2 is expressed in the endocardial cells of the atrioventricular canal and the outflow tract, as well as at the base of trabeculae, in addition to the reported expression in the ventricular compact myocardium. By disrupting several signaling pathways that regulate trabeculation and/or compaction, we found that, in contrast to previous reports, Notch signaling and Nrg1/ErbB2 regulate Hey2 expression level in myocardium and/or endocardium, but not its expression pattern: weak expression in trabecular myocardium and strong expression in compact myocardium. Instead, we found that FGF signaling regulates the expression pattern of Hey2 in the early myocardium, and regulates the expression level of Hey2 in a Notch1 dependent manner.
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