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.
Wayne Carter | EurekAlert!
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