The homeobox transcription factors NKX2-5 and MEIS1 are essential for vertebrate heart development and normal physiology of the adult heart. We show that, during cardiac differentiation, the two transcription factors have partially overlapping expression patterns, with the result that as cardiac progenitors from the anterior heart field differentiate and migrate into the cardiac outflow tract, they sequentially experience high levels of MEIS1 and then increasing levels of NKX2-5. Using the Popdc2 gene as an example, we also show that a significant proportion of target genes for NKX2-5 contain a binding motif recognized by NKX2-5, which overlaps with a binding site for MEIS1. Binding of the two factors to such overlapping sites is mutually exclusive, and this provides a simple regulatory mechanism for spatial and temporal synchronization of a common pool of targets between NKX2-5 and MEIS1.
Dupays, L., Shang, C., Wilson, R., Kotecha, S., Wood, S., Towers, N., & Mohun, T. (2015). Sequential Binding of MEIS1 and NKX2-5 on the Popdc2 Gene: A Mechanism for Spatiotemporal Regulation of Enhancers during Cardiogenesis. Cell Reports, 13(1), 183–195. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2015.08.065