Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UT Southwestern researchers find protein that both instigates, inhibits heart growth in mice


Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have discovered a protein that regulates growth and development of the heart from its fetal stage to adulthood.

Dr. Eric Olson and a team of researchers have discovered a protein that continuously regulates heart development in mice from the embryonic stage to adulthood.

Findings published in today’s edition of Cell report that the protein, named Homeodomain-Only Protein (HOP) by the researchers, is active in controlling heart growth at various stages of development in mice. Dr. Eric Olson, chairman of molecular biology at UT Southwestern and the study’s principal investigator, said the team set out to find proteins unique to the heart and study their functions. After they identified HOP, they bred mice that were genetically unable to produce the protein, with dramatic results.

"We created knockout mice lacking the gene to produce this protein, and they fell into two classes – they either died as embryos because their hearts didn’t grow, or they survived to adulthood with too many cardiac muscle cells," said Olson, director of the Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Center for Basic Research in Cancer and the Nearburg Family Center for Basic Research in Pediatric Oncology.

"Understanding the mechanisms that regulate growth of heart cells has important implications for eventual therapies directed toward repairing the damaged heart," Olson said.

Observed problems during the fetal stages of the mutant mice included numerous ruptures of the ventricular walls, thin heart chamber layers and blood in the fibrous tissue surrounding the heart. After birth, there were elevations – as much as 19-fold – in the number of growing cardiac muscle cells in mutant compared to wild-type mice, and gene profiling showed that 179 genes had elevated expression and 90 genes had reduced expression.

The researchers believe that HOP works by controlling levels of serum response factor (SRF), a gene-activating protein, during heart development. SRF and three sibling proteins form a group called the MADS-box, and those proteins trigger genetic activity that produces a number of organs and systems. In the case of heart development, SRF controls the number and types of cells produced, and HOP controls the activity of SRF. Without HOP, SRF can’t properly balance heart-cell proliferation and differentiation, resulting in either an underdeveloped or overdeveloped heart.

"There has to be a finely tuned balance of proliferation and differentiation of cardiac cells for normal heart development," said Olson. "There’s a lot of interest in regulating the cardiac-cell cycle because the heart can’t repair itself; it can’t regenerate cells efficiently."

While Olson and his team believe the identification of HOP and its role in heart development is important, they also believe they’ve only uncovered a small fragment of the tableau.

"We need to figure out how to regulate HOP; obviously, other signals and proteins have to be involved to dictate that," Olson said. "But HOP is an important component of a mechanism that regulates heart growth."

San Diego-based Collateral Therapeutics Inc., a company working to develop genetic treatments for heart ailments, already has licensed the research in order to explore drug-development possibilities.

Wayne Carter | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>