Scientists at the University of East Anglia have made an important step in understanding how hearts are formed in developing embryos.
The heart is the first functioning organ to develop in humans, and correct formation is crucial for embryo survival and growth.
Image above shows an early chick embryo with prospective heart cells labeled in green. These cells are migrating towards the region where they will form the heart.
New research published today reveals how cells that form the heart, known as ‘cardiac progenitors’, are guided to move into the right place for the heart to begin to form.
It is hoped that the findings will help researchers better understand how congenital heart defects happen during the early stages of pregnancy.
Researchers studied live chick embryos and used a fluorescent dye to follow how prospective heart cells move together under the microscope.
Lead researcher Prof Andrea Münsterberg, from UEA’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “We have identified two important molecules which work together to control the correct migration of these cells.
They do this by responding to signals, which help the cells navigate their way together – a bit like the embryo’s own GPS system. Once they have arrived in the correct place, they can begin to form the heart.
“Exactly how the cardiac progenitor cells are guided in their movement by these external signals is still unclear, but we have identified two key players that are important in this process.
“This research is particularly important because correct heart formation, at the right time and in the right place, is crucial for embryos to survive and grow.”
The research was funded by British Heart Foundation project grants.
‘Smad1 transcription factor integrates BMP2 and Wnt3a signals in migrating cardiac progenitor cells’ is published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) on May 5.
Lisa Horton | Eurek Alert!
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
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...
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...
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...
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...
'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...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences