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Publication : Patterning of the cardiac outflow region in Drosophila.

First Author  Zikova Martina Year  2003
Journal  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. Volume  100
Pages  12189-94 PubMed ID  14519845
Abstract Text  Specification of bilateral cardiac primordia and formation of the linear heart tube are highly conserved from Drosophila to humans. However, subsequent heart morphogenesis involving nonmesodermal neural crest cells was thought to be specific for vertebrates. Here, we provide evidence that a group of nonmesodermal cells that we have named heart-anchoring cells (HANCs) contribute to heart morphogenesis in Drosophila. We show that the homeobox genes ladybird (lb) known to be involved in diversification of cardiac precursors are expressed in HANCs and required for their specification. Interestingly, the HANCs selectively contact the anterior cardiac cells, which express lb as well. Direct interaction between HANCs and cardiac cells is assisted by a pair of cardiac outflow muscles (COMs), each of which selectively attaches to both the lb-expressing cardiac cells and HANCs. COM muscles seem to ensure ventral bending of the heart tip and together with HANCs determine the spatial positioning of the cardiac outflow region. Experimentally depleted cardiac lb expression leads to the disruption of the contact between the tip of the heart and either the COM muscles or the HANC cells, indicating a pivotal morphogenetic role for the lb expression within the heart. Doi  10.1073/pnas.2133156100
Issue  21 Month  Oct

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