ERBB family members and their ligands play an essential role in embryonic heart development and adult heart physiology. Among them, ERBB3 is a binding partner of ERBB2; the ERBB2/3 complex mediates downstream signaling for cell proliferation. ERBB3 has seven consensus binding sites to the p85 regulatory subunit of PI3K, which activates the downstream AKT pathway, leading to the proliferation of various cells. This study generated a human ERBB3 knock-in mouse expressing a mutant ERBB3 whose seven YXXM p85 binding sites were replaced with YXXA. Erbb3 knock-in embryos exhibited lethality between E12.5 to E13.5, and showed a decrease in mesenchymal cell numbers and density in AV cushions. We determined that the proliferation of mesenchymal cells in the atrioventricular (AV) cushion in Erbb3 knock-in mutant embryos was temporarily reduced due to the decrease of AKT and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Overall, our results suggest that AKT/ERK activation by the ERBB3-dependent PI3K signaling is crucial for AV cushion morphogenesis during embryonic heart development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas