Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein expression gets the heart pumping

23.04.2014

Most people think the development of the heart only happens in the womb, however the days and weeks following birth are full of cellular changes that play a role in the structure and function of the heart.

Using mouse models, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have now been able to categorize the alternative splicing (the process in which genes code proteins, determining their role) that takes place during these changes and what mechanisms they affect.

The findings, which appear in Nature Communications, also helped to identify a protein that regulates some of the alternative splicing and then goes on to change dramatically in its expression during the postnatal period.

"The cells of the heart stop dividing after birth but they have to continue growing and working together for the heart to pump the blood. So basically, we have made the connection between the process of alternative splicing and the development of this system that coordinates heart contraction and function," said Thomas Cooper, the S. Donald Greenberg professor of pathology & immunology at Baylor.

Researchers were able to separate two main cell types of the mouse heart, the cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblasts. Using RNA sequencing they looked at early- and late-stage development within the days following birth. RNA sequencing is a technique that reveals the messages transmitted to the cell from the genome, allowing researchers to see the mechanisms associated with gene expression. During the sequencing, Cooper and his colleagues were able to see what genes are turned on and off and which ones undergo an alternative splicing change.

By pinpointing these changes, the team of researchers identified the CELF1 protein as being responsible for regulating certain alternative splicing events, Cooper said. So by turning on and off CELF1 expression at different points in development, researchers were able to see how the protein affects development during this stage.

"We looked at hundreds of genes that undergo alternative splicing and were able to see which ones are regulated by CELF1," Cooper said. "We asked if is there anything in common among these genes and found that some were responsible for endocytosis and vesicular trafficking. So what is going on in heart development that is related to these processes associated with cell membrane dynamics?"

It turns out, Cooper said, that the cell membrane machinery that is required to coordinate contraction, the electrical activity of the heart, all develops in this postnatal period.

There are some ailments that CELF1 is associated with such as arrhythmias and some forms of muscular dystrophy and Cooper said it is possible that this protein could provide a treatment target.

"Now we know what happens during this period in terms of what genes are on and off and what alternative splicing takes place. This is new information for further studies to build on," he said. "There is still information about this developmental stage that must be looked at first."

###

This work was performed by Jimena Guidice, a postdoctoral fellow in Cooper's lab. Others who contributed to this research include Zheng Xia, Marissa A. Scavuzzo, Amanda J. Ward, Auinash Kalsotra, Wei Wang, Xander H.T. Wehrens, Wei Li, all of Baylor College of Medicine; and Eric T. Wang and Christopher B. Burge, both with Massachusetts institute of Technology. Ward and Kalsotra are currently with Isis Pharmaceuticals, Carlsbad California.

Funding for this research is from the National Institutes of Health (R01HL045565, R01AR060733, and R01AR045653), the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation, the American Heart Association, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, CPRIT and Foundation Leducq.

Graciela Gutierrez | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: Heart Medicine Protein RNA activity function genes mechanisms protein pump splicing

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Faster detection of pathogens in the lungs
24.06.2016 | Universität Zürich

nachricht How yeast cells regulate their fat balance
23.06.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First experimental quantum simulation of particle physics phenomena

Physicists in Innsbruck have realized the first quantum simulation of lattice gauge theories, building a bridge between high-energy theory and atomic physics. In the journal Nature, Rainer Blatt‘s and Peter Zoller’s research teams describe how they simulated the creation of elementary particle pairs out of the vacuum by using a quantum computer.

Elementary particles are the fundamental buildings blocks of matter, and their properties are described by the Standard Model of particle physics. The...

Im Focus: Is There Life On Mars?

Survivalist back from Space - 18 months on the outer skin of the ISS

A year and a half on the outer wall of the International Space Station ISS in altitude of 400 kilometers is a real challenge. Whether a primordial bacterium...

Im Focus: CWRU physicists deploy magnetic vortex to control electron spin

Potential technology for quantum computing, keener sensors

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed a way to swiftly and precisely control electron spins at room temperature.

Im Focus: Physicists measured something new in the radioactive decay of neutrons

The experiment inspired theorists; future ones could reveal new physics

A physics experiment performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has enhanced scientists' understanding of how free neutrons decay...

Im Focus: Discovery of gold nanocluster 'double' hints at other shape changing particles

New analysis approach brings two unique atomic structures into focus

Chemically the same, graphite and diamonds are as physically distinct as two minerals can be, one opaque and soft, the other translucent and hard. What makes...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ERES 2016: The largest conference in the European real estate industry

09.06.2016 | Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

Challenges of rural labor markets

20.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool'

24.06.2016 | Materials Sciences

Russian physicists create a high-precision 'quantum ruler'

24.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Hubble confirms new dark spot on Neptune

24.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>