Navigation Links
Sea squirt pacemaker gives new insight into evolution of the human heart

An international team of molecular scientists have discovered that star ascidians, also known as sea squirts, have pacemaker cells similar to that of the human heart. The research, published in the JEZ A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology, may offer a new insight into the early evolution of the heart as star ascidians are one of the closest related invertebrates to mammals.

The research team, led by Annette Hellbach from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany, expected to find clusters of HCN cells, the markers for pacemakers, at either end of the Botryllus schlosseri ascidian heart.

"The Botryllus schlosseri heart beats from one end to the other, stops for a short while and then starts to beat in the other direction," said Hellbach. "It would make sense to have two pacemakers on both ends from which the heartbeat is initiated, however, we found several HCN positive cells spread along the cardiac tube."

The team interpreted this finding as an evolutionary precursor to the elaborate cardiac conduction system found in mammals which are made up of clusters of pacemaker cells located in defined spots.

The team found that in comparison the cells in the B. schlosseri heart appeared to be randomly distributed along the heart; however, as with mammals the HCN cells played a vital role in generating the heartbeat.

The team also found that the cells responded to the blocking chemicals Cilobradine and Zatebradine by decreasing the heartbeat as is found to be the case for mice. This increases the likelihood that the cells operate through a similar molecular function.

"Our study reveals that the presence of HCN channels and their role in generating the heartbeat is shared between B. schlosseri and mammals," said Hellbach. "This makes colonial ascidians such as B. schlosseri insightful models for studies on the origins and evolution of vertebrate innovations, such as the pacemaker."


Contact: Ben Norman

Related biology news :

1. Sea squirt cells shed light on cancer development
2. The sea squirt offers hope for Alzheimers sufferers
3. New technology may prolong the life of implanted devices, from pacemakers to chemotherapy ports
4. A pacemaker for your brain
5. Energy-harvesting rubber sheets could power pacemakers, mobile phones
6. Towards a natural pacemaker
7. Fools gold gives scientists priceless insight into Earths evolution
8. New duck-billed dinosaur gives scientists clues to evolution of head ornamentation and provinciality
9. Simple test gives accurate prediction of ovulation to help women become pregnant
10. Space research gives birth to new ultrasound tools for health care in orbit, on Earth
11. Stevens Center for Science Writings gives Green Book Award to James Hansen
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , Revenues amounted ... quarter of 2015 The gross margin was 49% (27) ... the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per share ... operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook   ... M. The operating margin for 2016 is estimated to ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... be implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution ... the biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with ... of modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of ... ID readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... AVIV, Israel , April 14, 2016 ... Behavioral Authentication and Malware Detection, today announced the appointment ... already assumed the new role. Goldwerger,s leadership ... BioCatch, on the heels of the deployment of its ... addition, BioCatch,s behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Andrew D Zelenetz , ... Published recently in Oncology & ... Andrew D Zelenetz , discusses the fact ... placing an increasing burden on healthcare systems worldwide, ... the patents on many biologics expiring, interest in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only ... Center and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June ... scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, ... tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The ... of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... research report to its pharmaceuticals section with historic ... details and much more. Complete report ... 151 pages, profiling 15 companies and supported with ... . The Global ...
Breaking Biology Technology: