The transcriptional regulation of an isolated rat phospholamban (PL) promoter fragment in rat cardiomyocytes was analyzed by applying a new method to reach substantially higher transfection efficiencies: gene gun biolistics. The gene gun transfection method was optimized for application to primary cultures of rat neonatal cardiomyocytes. Cells, cultured at different densities (0.75-1.50x10(5)cells/cm(2)) in serum-free medium, were transfected with DNA coated gold particles. A transfection efficiency of up to 10% could be achieved (compared to <1% with other methods) by the gene gun as checked using a RSV- beta-Gal construct. Cardiomyocytes were stimulated by endothelin-1 (ET-1) (10(-8)M) to induce hypertrophy, thereby yielding the characteristic changes in gene expression (upregulation of Atrial Natriuretic Factor (ANF) and downregulation of PL). The basal activity of an ANF promoter fragment (increasing from the lowest to highest density 2.6-fold) and its ET-1 inducibility (only significant upregulation of 2.6-fold, at lowest density) appeared to be dependent on the plating density of the cardiomyocytes. A PL promoter fragment was isolated, sequenced and 1.4 kb was subcloned in a luciferase reporter vector. The basal activity of the PL promoter fragment was not dependent on the plating density. ET-1 did not downregulate the PL promoter, rather a significant upregulation (1.4-fold) was found at the highest plating density. In conclusion, plating density of the cardiomyocytes can influence promoter activity as shown with an ANF promoter fragment. A newly isolated and sequenced rat PL promoter fragment did not direct gene expression as expected on basis of downregulation of the PL gene by ET-1 observed in this model.

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Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Eizema, K., van Heugten, H., Bezstarosti, K., van Setten, M., & Lamers, J. (2000). Endothelin-1 responsiveness of a 1.4 kb phospholamban promoter fragment in rat cardiomyocytes transfected by the gene gun. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, 32(2), 311–321. doi:10.1006/jmcc.1999.1076