PMID: 10189963Apr 6, 1999

Conducting the embryonic heart: orchestrating development of specialized cardiac tissues

Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine
Robert G GourdieT Mikawa

Abstract

The heterogeneous tissues of the pacemaking and conduction system comprise the "smart components" of the heart, responsible for setting, maintaining, and coordinating the rhythmic pumping of cardiac muscle. Over the last few years, a wealth of new information has been collected about the unique genetic and phenotypic characteristics expressed by these tissues during cardiac morphogenesis. More recently, genetically modified viruses, mutational analysis, and targeted transgenesis have enabled even more precise resolution of the relationships between cell fate, gene expression, and differentiation of specialized function within developing myocardium. While some information provided by these newer approaches has supported conventional wisdom, some fresh and unexpected perspectives have also emerged. In particular, there is mounting evidence that extracardiac populations of cells migrating into the tubular heart have important morphogenetic roles in the inductive pattering and functional integration of the developing conduction system.

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Related Concepts

Embryonic Heart
Myocardial Contraction
Shuttle Vectors
Cell Fate
Cell Motility
Myocardium
Recombinant Transgenes
Gene Expression
Cell Differentiation Process
Heart Morphogenesis

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