Navigation Links
Gladstone scientists identify key factors in heart cell creation

Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease have identified for the first time key genetic factors that drive the process of generating new heart cells. The discovery, reported in the current issue of the journal Nature, provides important new directions on how stem cells may be used to repair damaged hearts.

For decades, scientists were unable to identify a single factor that could turn nonmuscle cells into beating heart cells. Using a clever approach, the research team led by Benoit Bruneau, Ph.D., found that a combination of three genes could do the trick. This is the first time any combination of factors has been found to activate cardiac differentiation in mammalian cells or tissues.

"The heart has very little regenerative capacity after it has been damaged," said Dr. Bruneau. "With heart disease the leading cause of death in the Western world, this is a significant first step in understanding how we might create new cells to repair a damaged heart."

Two of the three genes encode proteins called transcription factors, which are master regulators that bind to DNA and determine which genes get activated or shut off. The two transcription factors, GATA4 and TBX5, cause human heart disease when mutated and also cooperate with each other to control other genes. When Dr. Bruneau and postdoctoral fellow Jun K. Takeuchi added different combinations of transcription factors to mouse cells, these two seemed important for pushing cells into heart cellsbut they were not enough.

"When we finally identified the key factor that could work with GATA4 and TBX5 to turn cells into beating heart cells, it was somewhat of a surprise to us," said Dr. Bruneau.

The surprising factor was a cardiac-specific protein called BAF60c, which helps determine whether transcription factors like GATA4 and TBX5 can even gain access to the DNA regions they were supposed to turn on or off. "Our previous studies had shown that chromatin remodeling complexes were important," said Dr. Bruneau. "Mice with lower levels of these complexes have severe heart defects and defective cardiac differentiation. These observations prompted us to look at Baf60c in heart differentiation."

The effect was dramatic. Addition of the three factors directed differentiation of mouse mesoderm, which normally has the potential to make bone, blood, muscle, heart, and other tissues, specifically into cardiac muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) that beat rhythmically, just like normal heart cells. In fact, even cells that normally contribute to the placenta could be induced to transform into beating cardiomyocytes.

"Together, these factors give us a potent mechanism to control cellular differentiation," said Dr. Bruneau. "This knowledge may help us to understand how to reprogram new cardiomyocytes for therapeutic purposes."


Contact: Valerie Tucker
Gladstone Institutes

Related biology news :

1. Gladstone scientists reveal key enzyme in fat absorption
2. Gladstone scientists reveal that fat synthesizing enzyme is key to healthy skin and hair
3. Gladstone scientists create Wikipathways to foster research collaboration
4. Gladstone and Izumi Bio in partnership in regenerative medicine and cardiovascular disease
5. Gladstones Shinya Yamanaka wins prestigious Shaw Prize
6. Fire is important part of global climate change, report scientists
7. Scientists give a hand(edness) to the search for alien life
8. Caltech scientists show why anti-HIV antibodies are ineffective at blocking infection
9. Marine scientists warn of potential for spring, summer red tide outbreak in Gulf of Maine
10. Singapore scientists synthesize gold to shed light on cells inner workings
11. UNC study: Scientists identify chemical compound that may stop deadly brain tumors
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Gladstone scientists identify key factors in heart cell creation
(Date:6/7/2016)... TORONTO , June 7, 2016  Syngrafii ... begun a business relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s ... pilot branch project. This collaboration will result in ... for the credit union, while maintaining existing document ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... -- Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems, Biometrics ... Support & Other Service  The latest report ... analysis of the global Border Security market . ... $17.98 billion in 2016. Now: In November ... software and hardware technologies for advanced video surveillance. ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... --  EyeLock LLC , a market leader of iris-based ... IoT Center of Excellence in Austin, Texas ... embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s iris authentication ... with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the most proven ... platform uses video technology to deliver a fast and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed a ... serve as their official health care provider. As ... provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and most ... athletes and families. "We are excited ... to bring Houston Methodist quality services and programs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware design and ... in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together inventors and ... brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation of one ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 ... 2016;12(1):22-8 Published recently ... peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz ... of cancer care is placing an increasing burden ... expensive biologic therapies. With the patents on many ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ... QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate the ... shared laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to help ... obstacle for many early stage organizations - access to ... sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: