Histone acetyltransferases (HATs), p300 and cAMP response element binding protein (CREB)-binding protein (CBP) are two structurally related transcriptional co-activators that activate expression of many eukaryotic genes involved in cellular growth and signaling, muscle differentiation and embryogenesis. However, whether these proteins play important and different roles in mouse cardiogenesis is not clear. Here, we investigate the protein distributions and mRNA expression of the two HATs in embryonic and adult mouse heart during normal heart development by using immunohistochemical and RT-PCR techniques. The data from immunohistochemical experiments revealed that p300 was extensively present in nearly every region of the hearts from embryonic stages to the adulthood. However, no CBP expression was detected in embryonic hearts at day E7.5. CBP expression appeared at the later stages, and the distribution of CBP was less than that of p300. In the developmental hearts after E10.5, both for p300 and CBP, the mRNA expression levels reached a peak on day E10.5, and then were gradually decreased afterwards. These results reveal that both p300 and CBP are related to embryonic heart development. The dynamic expression patterns of these two enzymes during mouse heart development indicate that they may play an important role on heart development. However, there is a difference in spatiotemporal expression patterns between these two enzymes during heart development. The expression of p300 is earlier and more predominate, suggesting that p300 may play a more important role in embryonic heart development especially during cardiac precursor cell induction and interventricular septum formation
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