Mice with a homozygous knockout of the jumonji (jmj) gene showed abnormal heart development and defective regulation of cardiac-specific genes, including the atrial natriuretic factor (ANF). ANF is one of the earliest markers of cardiac differentiation and a hallmark for cardiac hypertrophy. Here, we show that JMJ represses ANF gene expression by inhibiting transcriptional activities of Nkx2.5 and GATA4. JMJ represses the Nkx2.5-or GATA4-dependent activation of the reporter genes containing the ANF promoter-enhancer or containing the Nkx2.5 or GATA4-binding consensus sequence. JMJ physically associates with Nkx2.5 and GATA4 in vitro and in vivo as determined by glutathione S-transferase pull-down and immunoprecipitation assays. Using mutational analyses, we mapped the protein-protein interaction domains in JMJ, Nkx2.5, and GATA4. We identified two DNA-binding sites of JMJ in the ANF enhancer by gel mobility shift assays. However, these JMJ-binding sites do not seem to mediate ANF repression by JMJ. Mutational analysis of JMJ indicates that the protein-protein interaction domain of JMJ mediates the repression of ANF gene expression. Therefore, JMJ may play important roles in the down-regulation of ANF gene expression and in heart development.