[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Animal genomes contain a code for construction of the body plan from a fertilized egg. Understanding how genome information is deciphered to create the complex multilayered regulatory systems that drive organismal development, and which become altered in disease, is one of the greatest challenges in the biological sciences. The development of methods that effectively represent and communicate the complexity inherent in gene regulatory networks remains a major barrier. This review introduces the philosophy of systems biology and discusses recent progress in understanding the development of the heart at a systems biology level.
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine 10/2014; · 7.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian hearts carry a number of primitive stem cell-like populations, although the magnitude of their contribution to tissue homeostasis and repair remains controversial. Recent CRE recombinase-based lineage tracing experiments suggest only a minor contribution to the formation of new cardiomyocytes from such cells, albeit one that might be augmented therapeutically. As the field explores clinical translation of cardiac stem cells, it will be important to understand the biology of these cells in great detail. In this review we document the various reported stem and progenitor cell populations in mammalian hearts and discuss the current state of knowledge on their origins and lineage capabilities.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Donation after circulatory death (DCD) offers a potential additional source of cardiac allografts. We used a porcine asphyxia model to evaluate viability of DCD hearts subjected to warm ischemic times (WIT) of 20–40 min prior to flushing with Celsior (C) solution. We then assessed potential benefits of supplementing C with erythropoietin, glyceryl trinitrate and zoniporide (Cs), a combination that we have shown previously to activate ischemic postconditioning pathways. Hearts flushed with C/Cs were assessed for functional, biochemical and metabolic recovery on an ex vivo working heart apparatus. Hearts exposed to 20-min WIT showed full recovery of functional and metabolic profiles compared with control hearts (no WIT). Hearts subjected to 30- or 40-min WIT prior to C solution showed partial and no recovery, respectively. Hearts exposed to 30-min WIT and Cs solution displayed complete recovery, while hearts exposed to 40-min WIT and Cs solution demonstrated partial recovery. We conclude that DCD hearts flushed with C solution demonstrate complete recovery up to 20-min WIT after which there is rapid loss of viability. Cs extends the limit of WIT tolerability to 30 min. DCD hearts with ≤30-min WIT may be suitable for transplantation and warrant assessment in a transplant model.
American Journal of Transplantation 07/2014; · 6.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Risk for schizophrenia is likely to involve gene × environment interactions. Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) is a schizophrenia risk gene, hence any interaction with environmental adversity, such as maternal infection, may provide further insights into the basis of the disease. This study examined the individual and combined effects of prenatal immune activation with Poly I:C and disruption of the schizophrenia risk gene NRG1 on the expression of behavioural phenotypes related to schizophrenia. NRG1 heterozygous (NRG1 HET) mutant breeding pairs were time-mated. Pregnant dams received a single injection (5 mg/kg i.p.) of Poly I:C or vehicle on gestation day 9 (GD9). Offspring were then cross-fostered to vehicle-treated or PolyI:C-treated dams. Expression of schizophrenia-related behavioural endophenotypes was assessed at adolescence and in adulthood. Combining NRG1 disruption and prenatal environmental insult (Poly I:C) caused developmental stage-specific deficits in social behaviour, spatial working memory and PPI. However, combining Poly I:C and cross-fostering produced a number of behavioural deficits in the open field, social behaviour and PPI. This became more complex by combining NRG1 deletion with both Poly I:C exposure and cross-fostering, which had a robust effect on PPI. These findings suggest that concepts of gene × environment interaction in risk for schizophrenia should be elaborated to multiple interactions that involve individual genes interacting with diverse biological and psychosocial environmental factors over early life, to differentially influence particular domains of psychopathology, sometimes over specific stages of development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) must control their number and fate to sustain the rapid heart growth during development, yet the intrinsic factors and environment governing these processes remain unclear. Here, we show that deletion of the ancient cell-fate regulator Numb (Nb) and its homologue Numblike (Nbl) depletes CPCs in second pharyngeal arches (PA2s) and is associated with an atrophic heart. With histological, flow cytometric and functional analyses, we find that CPCs remain undifferentiated and expansive in the PA2, but differentiate into cardiac cells as they exit the arch. Tracing of Nb- and Nbl-deficient CPCs by lineage-specific mosaicism reveals that the CPCs normally populate in the PA2, but lose their expansion potential in the PA2. These findings demonstrate that Nb and Nbl are intrinsic factors crucial for the renewal of CPCs in the PA2 and that the PA2 serves as a microenvironment for their expansion.DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02164.001.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiac fibroblasts are critical to proper heart function through multiple interactions with the myocardial compartment but appreciation of their contribution has suffered from incomplete characterization and lack of cell-specific markers.
To generate an unbiased comparative gene expression profile of the cardiac fibroblast pool, identify and characterize the role of key genes in cardiac fibroblast function, and determine their contribution to myocardial development and regeneration.
High-throughput cell surface and intracellular profiling of cardiac and tail fibroblasts identified canonical MSC and a surprising number of cardiogenic genes, some expressed at higher levels than in whole heart. Whilst genetically marked fibroblasts contributed heterogeneously to interstitial but not cardiomyocyte compartments in infarcted hearts, fibroblast-restricted depletion of one highly expressed cardiogenic marker, Tbx20, caused marked myocardial dysmorphology and perturbations in scar formation upon myocardial infarction.
The surprising transcriptional identity of cardiac fibroblasts, the adoption of cardiogenic gene programs and direct contribution to cardiac development and repair provokes alternative interpretations for studies on more specialized cardiac progenitors, offering a novel perspective for reinterpreting cardiac regenerative therapies.
Circulation Research 03/2014; · 11.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian embryos develop in a low oxygen environment. The transcription factor hypoxia inducible factor 1a (HIF1α) is a key element in the cellular response to hypoxia. Complete deletion of Hif1α from the mouse conceptus causes extensive placental, vascular and heart defects, resulting in embryonic lethality. However the precise role of Hif1α in each of these organ systems remains unknown. To further investigate, we conditionally-deleted Hif1α from mesoderm, vasculature and heart individually. Surprisingly, deletion from these tissues did not recapitulate the same severe heart phenotype or embryonic lethality. Placental insufficiency, such as occurs in the complete Hif1α null, results in elevated cellular hypoxia in mouse embryos. We hypothesized that subjecting the Hif1α conditional null embryos to increased hypoxic stress might exacerbate the effects of tissue-specific Hif1α deletion. We tested this hypothesis using a model system mimicking placental insufficiency. We found that the majority of embryos lacking Hif1α in the heart died when exposed to non-physiological hypoxia. This was a heart-specific phenomenon, as HIF1α protein accumulated predominantly in the myocardium of hypoxia-stressed embryos. Our study demonstrates the vulnerability of the heart to lowered oxygen levels, and that under such conditions of non-physiological hypoxia the embryo absolutely requires Hif1α to continue normal development. Importantly, these findings extend our understanding of the roles of Hif1α in cardiovascular development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Congenital heart defects represent the most common human birth defects and are often life-threatening. Frequently, they are caused by abnormalities of the outflow tract whose formation results from coordinated development of cells from mesodermal and neural crest origin and depends on the activity of many different transcription factors. However, place, time, and mode of action have only been analyzed for a few of them. Here we assess the contribution of the closely related high-mobility-group transcription factors Sox4 and Sox11 to outflow tract development and determine their function. Using cell-type-specific deletion in the mouse, we show that Sox11 is required for proper development in both mesodermal cells and neural crest cells. Deletion in either mesoderm or neural crest, or both, leads to outflow tract defects ranging from double outlet right ventricle to common arterial trunk. Sox4 supports Sox11 in its function, but has additional roles with relevance for outflow tract formation in other cell types. The two Sox proteins are dispensable during early phases of cardiac neural crest development including neural tube emigration, proliferation, and migration through the pharyngeal arches. They become essential after arrival of the neural crest cells in the outflow tract for their proper differentiation and interaction with each other as well as with the environment through regulation of cytoskeletal, cell adhesion, and extracellular matrix molecules. Our results demonstrate that Sox4 and Sox11 have multiple functions in several cell types during outflow tract formation and may thus help to understand the basis of congenital heart defects in humans.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 12/2013; · 5.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Members of the T-box family of transcription factors are important regulators orchestrating the complex regionalization of the developing mammalian heart. Individual mutations in Tbx20 and Tbx3 cause distinct congenital heart abnormalities in the mouse: Tbx20 mutations result in failure of heart looping, developmental arrest and lack of chamber differentiation, while hearts of Tbx3 mutants progress further, loop normally but show atrioventricular convergence and outflow tract defects. The two genes have overlapping areas of expression in the atrioventricular canal and outflow tract of the heart but their potential genetic interaction has not been previously investigated. In this study we produced compound mutants to investigate potential genetic interactions at the earliest stages of heart development. We find that Tbx20; Tbx3 double heterozygous mice are viable and fertile with no apparent abnormalities, while double homozygous mutants are embryonic lethal by midgestation. Double homozygous mutant embryos display abnormal cardiac morphogenesis, lack of heart looping, expression patterns of cardiac genes and time of death that are indistinguishable from Tbx20 homozygous mutants. Prior to death, the double homozygotes show an overall developmental delay similar to Tbx3 homozygous mutants. Thus the effects of Tbx20 are epistatic to Tbx3 in the heart but Tbx3 is epistatic to Tbx20 with respect to developmental delay.
PLoS ONE 07/2013; 8(7):e70149. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: -The transcription factor NKX2-5 is crucial for heart development and mutations in this gene have been implicated in diverse congenital heart diseases (CHD) and conduction defects (CD) in mouse models and humans. Whether NKX2-5 mutations have a role in adult-onset heart disease is unknown. METHODS AND RESULTS: -Mutation screening was performed in 220 probands with adult-onset dilated cardiomypathy (DCM). Six NKX2-5 coding sequence variants were identified, including 3 non-synonymous variants. A novel heterozygous mutation, I184M, located within the NKX2-5 homeodomain (HD), was identified in one family. A subset of family members had CHD, but there was an unexpectedly high prevalence of DCM. Functional analysis of I184M in vitro demonstrated a striking increase in protein expression when transfected into COS-7 cells or HL-1 cardiomyocytes, due to reduced degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). In functional assays, DNA binding activity of I184M was reduced, resulting in impaired activation of target genes, despite increased expression levels of mutant protein. CONCLUSIONS: -Certain NKX2-5 HD mutations show abnormal protein degradation via the UPS and partially impaired transcriptional activity. We propose that this class of mutation can impair heart development and mature heart function, and contribute to NKX2-5-related cardiomyopathies with graded severity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Secondary lymphoid organ stromal cells comprise different subsets whose origins remain unknown. Herein, we exploit a genetic lineage-tracing approach to show that splenic fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs), follicular dendritic cells (FDCs), marginal reticular cells (MRCs), and mural cells, but not endothelial cells, originate from embryonic mesenchymal progenitors of the Nkx2-5(+)Islet1(+) lineage. This lineage include embryonic mesenchymal cells with lymphoid tissue organizer (LTo) activity capable also of supporting ectopic lymphoid-like structures and a subset of resident spleen stromal cells that proliferate and regenerate the splenic stromal microenvironment following resolution of a viral infection. These findings identify progenitor cells that generate stromal diversity in spleen development and repair and suggest the existence of multipotent stromal progenitors in the adult spleen with regenerative capacity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The regulation of cardiac differentiation is complex and incompletely understood. Recent studies have documented that Nkx2-5 positive cells are not limited to the cardiac lineage but can give rise to endothelial and smooth muscle lineages. Other work has elucidated that, in addition to promoting cardiac development, Nkx2-5 plays a larger role in mesodermal patterning although the transcriptional networks that govern this developmental patterning are undefined. By profiling early Nkx2-5 positive progenitor cells, we discovered that the progenitor pools of the bisected cardiac crescent are differentiating asynchronously. This asymmetry requires Nkx2-5 as it is lost in the Nkx2-5 mutant. Surprisingly, the posterior Hox genes Hoxa9 and Hoxa10 were expressed on the right side of the cardiac crescent, independently of Nkx2-5. We describe a novel, transient and asymmetric cardiac-specific expression pattern of the posterior Hox genes, Hoxa9 and Hoxa10 and utilize the embryonic stem cell/embryoid body (ES/EB) model system to illustrate that Hoxa10 impairs cardiac differentiation. We suggest a model whereby Hoxa10 cooperates with Nkx2-5 to regulate the timing of cardiac mesoderm differentiation.
Stem cells and development 03/2013; · 4.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human group IIA secreted phospholipase A2 (hGIIA) promotes tumor growth and inflammation, and can act independently of its well-described catalytic lipase activity via an alternative poorly understood signaling pathway. With six chemically diverse inhibitors we show that it is possible to selectively inhibit hGIIA signaling over catalysis and X-ray crystal structures illustrate that signaling involves a pharmacologically distinct surface to the catalytic site. We demonstrate in rheumatoid fibroblast-like synoviocytes that non-catalytic signaling is associated with rapid internalization of the enzyme and colocalization with vimentin. Trafficking of exogenous hGIIA was monitored with immunofluorescence studies, which revealed that vimentin localization is disrupted by inhibitors of signaling that belong to a rare class of small molecule inhibitors that modulate protein-protein interactions. This study provides structural and pharmacological evidence for an association between vimentin, hGIIA and arachidonic acid metabolism in synovial inflammation, avenues for selective interrogation of hGIIA signaling and new strategies for therapeutic hGIIA inhibitor design.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2013; · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Haematopoietic cells arise from spatiotemporally restricted domains in the developing embryo. Although studies of non-mammalian animal and in vitro embryonic stem cell models suggest a close relationship among cardiac, endocardial and haematopoietic lineages, it remains unknown whether the mammalian heart tube serves as a haemogenic organ akin to the dorsal aorta. Here we examine the haemogenic activity of the developing endocardium. Mouse heart explants generate myeloid and erythroid colonies in the absence of circulation. Haemogenic activity arises from a subset of endocardial cells in the outflow cushion and atria earlier than in the aorta-gonad-mesonephros region, and is transient and definitive in nature. Interestingly, key cardiac transcription factors, Nkx2-5 and Isl1, are expressed in and required for the haemogenic population of the endocardium. Together, these data suggest that a subset of endocardial/endothelial cells serve as a de novo source for transient definitive haematopoietic progenitors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rotary ATPases are molecular rotary motors involved in biological energy conversion. They either synthesize or hydrolyze the universal biological energy carrier adenosine triphosphate. Recent work has elucidated the general architecture and subunit compositions of all three sub-types of rotary ATPases. Composite models of the intact F-, V- and A-type ATPases have been constructed by fitting high-resolution X-ray structures of individual subunits or sub-complexes into low-resolution electron densities of the intact enzymes derived from electron cryo-microscopy. Electron cryo-tomography has provided new insights into the supra-molecular arrangement of eukaryotic ATP synthases within mitochondria and mass-spectrometry has started to identify specifically bound lipids presumed to be essential for function. Taken together these molecular snapshots show that nano-scale rotary engines have much in common with basic design principles of man made machines from the function of individual "machine elements" to the requirement of the right "fuel" and "oil" for different types of motors.