Transcriptional coactivators PGC-1alpha and PGC-lbeta control overlapping programs required for perinatal maturation of the heart.
Oxidative tissues such as heart undergo a dramatic perinatal mitochondrial biogenesis to meet the high-energy demands after birth. PPARgamma coactivator-1 (PGC-1) alpha and beta have been implicated in the transcriptional control of cellular energy metabolism. Mice with combined deficiency of PGC-1alpha and PGC-1beta (PGC-1alphabeta(-/-) mice) were generated to investigate the convergence of their functions in vivo. The phenotype of PGC-1beta(-/-) mice was minimal under nonstressed conditions, including normal heart function, similar to that of PGC-1alpha(-/-) mice generated previously. In striking contrast to the singly deficient PGC-1 lines, PGC-1alphabeta(-/-) mice died shortly after birth with small hearts, bradycardia, intermittent heart block, and a markedly reduced cardiac output. Cardiac-specific ablation of the PGC-1beta gene on a PGC-1alpha-deficient background phenocopied the generalized PGC-1alphabeta(-/-) mice. The hearts of the PGC-1alphabeta(-/-) mice exhibited signatures of a maturational defect including reduced growth, a late fetal arrest in mitochondrial biogenesis, and persistence of a fetal pattern of gene expression. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) of PGC-1alphabeta(-/-) mice also exhibited a severe abnormality in function and mitochondrial density. We conclude that PGC-1alpha and PGC-1beta share roles that collectively are necessary for the postnatal metabolic and functional maturation of heart and BAT.