The explosion of stem cell research in cardiology has yielded an increasing recognition that understanding developmental cell fate decisions is critical for everything from disease models to cellular therapeutics. However, the biology is particularly rich and complex and has not yielded easily to traditional investigative methods. One area of intense focus is the study of the cues responsible for the development of specialized conduction tissues in the heart. Direction of native cells or exogenous cells into the conduction system lineage might offer therapeutic insights into degenerative conduction disease. (SELECT FULL TEXT TO CONTINUE).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Holt-Oram syndrome is characterized by upper limb malformations and cardiac septation defects. Here, we demonstrate that mutations in the human TBX5 gene underlie this disorder. TBX5 was cloned from the disease locus on human chromosome 12q24.1 and identified as a member of the T-box transcription factor family. A nonsense mutation in TBX5 causes Holt-Oram syndrome in affected members of one family; a TBX5 missense mutation was identified in affected members of another. We conclude that TBX5 is critical for limb and heart development and suggest that haploinsufficiency of TBX5 causes Holt-Oram syndrome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The heart beat is coordinated by a precisely timed sequence of action potentials propagated through cells of the conduction system. Previously, we have shown that conduction cells in the chick embryo are derived from multipotent, cardiomyogenic progenitors present in the looped, tubular heart. Moreover, analyses of heterogeneity within myocyte clones and cell birth dating have indicated that elaboration of the conduction system occurs by ongoing, localized recruitment from within this multipotent pool. In this study, we have focused on a potential role for Wnt signaling in development of the cardiac conduction system. Treatment of embryonic myocytes from chick with endothelin-1 (ET-1) has been shown to promote expression of markers of Purkinje fiber cells. By using this in vitro model, we find that Wnt11 are Wnt7a are up-regulated in association with ET-1 treatment. Moreover, in situ hybridization reveals expression, although not temporal coincidence of, Wnt11 and Wnt7a in specialized tissues in the developing heart in vivo. Specifically, whereas Wnt11 shows transient and prominent expression in central elements of the developing conduction system (e.g., the His bundle), relative increases in Wnt7a expression emerge at sites consistent with the location of peripheral conduction cells (e.g., subendocardial Purkinje fibers). The patterns of Wnt11 and Wnt7a expression observed in vitro and in the embryonic chick heart appear to be consistent with roles for these two Wnts in differentiation of cardiac conduction tissues.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Impulse-conducting Purkinje fibers differentiate from myocytes during embryogenesis. The conversion of contractile myocytes into conduction cells is induced by the stretch/pressure-induced factor, endothelin (ET). Active ET is produced via proteolytic processing from its precursor by ET-converting enzyme 1 (ECE1) and triggers signaling by binding to its receptors. In the embryonic chick heart, ET receptors are expressed by all myocytes, but ECE1 is predominantly expressed in endothelial cells of coronary arteries and endocardium along which Purkinje fiber recruitment from myocytes takes place. Furthermore, co-expression of exogenous ECE1 and ET-precursor in the embryonic heart is sufficient to ectopically convert cardiomyocytes into Purkinje fibers. Thus, localized expression of ECE1 defines the site of Purkinje fiber recruitment in embryonic myocardium. However, it is not known how ECE1 expression is regulated in the embryonic heart. The unique expression pattern of ECE1 in the embryonic heart suggests that blood flow-induced stress/stretch may play a role in patterning ECE1 expression and subsequent induction of Purkinje fiber differentiation. We show that gadolinium, an antagonist for stretch-activated cation channels, downregulates the expression of ECE1 and a conduction cell marker, Cx40, in ventricular chambers, concurrently with delayed maturation of a ventricular conduction pathway. Conversely, pressure-overload in the ventricle by conotruncal banding results in a significant expansion of endocardial ECE1 expression and Cx40-positive putative Purkinje fibers. Coincident with this, an excitation pattern typical of the mature heart is precociously established. These in vivo data suggest that biomechanical forces acting on, and created by, the cardiovascular system during embryogenesis play a crucial role in Purkinje fiber induction and patterning.
Development 03/2004; 131(3):581-92. DOI:10.1242/dev.00947 · 6.46 Impact Factor
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