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In early heart development, genes work in tandem
Date:1/12/2010

a new group of mice in which Gata5 was inactive and had only one functioning Gata4 allele (each gene has two alleles) those mice all had profound cardiac defects and died before birth. (Mice with a normal Gata 5 gene and only one functioning Gata4 allele were normal.)

"Our research suggests that Gata5 has a previously unsuspected role during cardiac development, acting cooperatively with Gata4 to direct the heart to form normal structures," said Gruber. "If the same process occurs in humans, that tells us something new about prenatal heart development. The research also shows that studying a single gene in isolation may not be sufficient. Here one gene buffers the effects of losing another gene."

In people, genes in the GATA family regulate the development of heart muscle in particular structures that divide the left and right sides of the heart. Gruber's team is carrying follow-up studies, investigating how the genes seen in mice may be analogous to genes involved in embryonic heart development in humans. "Although a long way off, greater understanding of biological mechanisms during early heart development may eventually provide useful targets for more accurate diagnosis or personalized treatment of children with congenital heart disease," added Gruber.


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Contact: John Ascenzi
Ascenzi@email.chop.edu
267-426-6055
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Source:Eurekalert

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