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Mech Dev 2001 Feb 01;1002:263-73. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4773(00)00535-9.
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Bone morphogenetic protein function is required for terminal differentiation of the heart but not for early expression of cardiac marker genes.

Walters MJ , Wayman GA , Christian JL .

To examine potential roles for bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) in cardiogenesis, we used intracellular BMP inhibitors to disrupt this signaling cascade in Xenopus embryos. BMP-deficient embryos showed endodermal defects, a reduction in cardiac muscle-specific gene expression, a decrease in the number of cardiomyocytes and cardia bifida. Early expression of markers of endodermal and precardiac fate, however, was not perturbed. Heart defects were observed even when BMP signal transduction was blocked only in cells that contribute primarily to endodermal, and not cardiac fates, suggesting a non-cell autonomous function. Our results suggest that BMPs are not required for expression of early transcriptional regulators of cardiac fate but are essential for migration and/or fusion of the heart primordia and cardiomyocyte differentiation.

PubMed ID: 11165483
Article link: Mech Dev
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: gata4 gata5 gata6 nkx2-1 smad6