Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers provide study of early heart development and underlying cause of congenital heart defects

21.12.2005


Studies in drosophila genetics inform development of human heart



Researchers at The Burnham Institute for Medical Research have provided detailed insights into the early formation of the heart. A team lead by Dr. Rolf Bodmer found that two proteins, called Robo and Slit, are required for normal development of the heart and that malfunction of either of these proteins severely impacts the heart’s structure, resulting in congenital heart defects. These findings were published in the journal Current Biology released on December 20th.

Congenital heart defects involve the malformation in one or more structures of the heart or blood vessels while the fetus is developing in the uterus. According to the American Heart Association, congenital heart disease affects about 35,000 infants each year, and claims the lives of "nearly twice as many children" annually in the United States "as die from all forms of childhood cancer". Symptoms may arise at birth, during childhood, and sometimes not until adulthood.


Working with Drosophilia melanogaster, also known as the fruitfly, the researchers showed that the Slit and Robo proteins accumulate in a specific alignment during the formation of the heart tube, a linear tube representing the primitive heart before its cells assume their rhythmical contractile functions. Proper alignment of the heart tube cells is critical for heart assembly and proper shape, or morphology. The researchers found that mutation or misexpression of these proteins leads to misalignment of the heart tube and results in observed heart defects.

"Although there is much interest in the understanding of the basis of heart tube assembly, little is known about the underlying molecular and genetic mechanisms that orchestrate heart development," said Rolf Bodmer, Ph.D., Professor at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research and corresponding author in the study. "These findings provide understanding of early controls in heart development, and we are eager to conduct further studies to reveal how these controls are executed."

Because Robo and Slit proteins are conserved in higher organisms, these discoveries may soon lead to a search for mutations in the corresponding human genes in patients with congenital heart defects, and may one day be applied to develop diagnostic tests that detect mutations in Robo and Slit for the early diagnosis of congenital heart defects.

Dr. Bodmer is known internationally for his work on the development of the heart in Drosophila. Medical scientists have long relied on fruitflies as a model for studying the genetics of embryonic development. It is now known, as Dr. Bodmer proposed a decade ago, that formation of the cardiac tube, the genesis of the heart, is a similar process in fruitflies and humans.

Nancy Beddingfield | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.burnham.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>