The absence of two proteins in mammalian embryos prevents the development of a healthy heart, a new study by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, has found.
The study, which appears in the May 15 issue of Developmental Biology, was led by Stephen Duncan, Ph.D., professor of cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy at the Medical College.
This is the first study that has successfully identified the factors responsible for the onset of heart formation in the mammalian embryo. Until now, no single mutation had been identified that was thought to be responsible for blocking proper development of the heart in mammalian embryos. The identification of these major developmental switches will allow researchers to unravel the fundamental mechanisms that define heart cell formation.
Understanding the molecular pathways that control the development of the heart has been the subject of much interest in the scientific community, as approximately 35,000 children are born in the United States each year with congenital heart defects. Many more die during gestation because of complications from improper heart development.
“Defining these molecular pathways has implications in the production of heart cells from stem cells,” said Dr. Duncan. “Our study suggests that mutations in GATA4 and GATA6 are likely contributors to the development of congenital heart disease in children. Indeed other investigators at our Medical College, as well as elsewhere, have found mutations in one of the genes from our study in children born with heart abnormalities.”
Dr. Duncan’s lab found that either of two proteins, GATA4 and GATA6, controls the expression of genes that tell early embryonic cells to start making other proteins that eventually become beating heart cells.
“When either GATA4 or GATA6 were present, the stem cells were able to make most of the proteins that are required for heart function suggesting that they act in a redundant manner,” Dr. Duncan said. “However, when both GATA4 and GATA6 genes were mutated, the embryonic stem cells were unable to form heart cells in the lab.”
The study observed how the absence or mutation of GATA4 and GATA6 proteins impacted heart development in mice embryos. The embryos were cloned from GATA4 and GATA6 deficient stem cells.
“When embryos were cloned from normal stem cells, they made normal beating hearts,” Dr. Duncan explained. “However, when embryos were cloned from the GATA4/GATA6 deficient stem cells, the embryos developed but were completely lacking all heart cells.”
Other Medical College researchers for the study include Roong Zhao, research associate of cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy; Michelle Battle, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow of cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy; and Benjamin Bondow, research technologist of cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy.
Toranj Marphetia | newswise
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy