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!
Gene switch may repair DNA and prevent cancer
12.02.2016 | Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences at Kyoto University
New method opens crystal clear views of biomolecules
11.02.2016 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.
The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
12.02.2016 | Event News
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
12.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
12.02.2016 | Life Sciences
12.02.2016 | Medical Engineering