Zebrafish tbx5 expresses in the heart, pectoral fins and eyes of zebrafish during embryonic development. In zebrafish, injection of tbx5 morpholino antisense RNA caused changes of heart conformation, defect of heart looping, pericardium effusion, dropsy of ventral position and decreased heart rate. We suggested that cardiac myogenesis genes might be responsible for this phenomenon. Morpholino antisense RNA which against the initiation site of tbx5 gene was designed in order to knockdown the expression of tbx5, and the results were analyzed by whole-mount in situ hybridization and quantitative real-time PCR. Expression of cardiac myogenesis genes amhc, vmhc and cmlc2 were expressed constantly at the early embryonic development and reached its highest rate right before cardiac looping initiated. These cardiac myogenesis genes showed insufficient expressions within different heart defect embryos. Moreover, vmhc showed ectopic expression in addition to heart looping defect in heart defective embryos at 36 hpf. Our data suggests that the heart failure caused by the knockdown of tbx5 gene might result from the down-regulation of cardiac myogenesis genes.
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