There is the heart of gold, and then there is the heart that glows. Literally.
Provided by Kotlikoff et al.
This series reveals increases in cell calcium from a mouse embryos upper heart through the lower heart on day 10 of development. Cell calcium rises when muscles contract. The bottom row shows a dramatic slowing of the conducted calcium wave between the upper and lower heart chambers.
Cornell researchers have genetically engineered mice whose hearts glow with a green light every time they beat. The development gives researchers insights into how hearts develop in living mouse embryos and could improve our understanding of irregular heartbeats, known as arrhythmias, as well as open doors to observing cellular processes to better understand basic physiology and disease.
The technique for making living, functional cells fluoresce, or glow, when the concentration of calcium ions rise within cells, is described online at http://www.pnas.org/papbyrecent.shtml and is to be published in a future issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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