Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hearts Or Tails? Genetics Of Multi-chambered Heart Evolution

Date:
October 8, 2006
Source:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Summary:
A new paper in the October 1 issue of G&D elucidates the genetics of heart formation in the sea squirt, and lends surprising new insight into the genetic changes that may have driven the evolution of the multi-chambered vertebrate heart.

A new paper in the October 1 issue of G&D elucidates the genetics of heart formation in the sea squirt, and lends surprising new insight into the genetic changes that may have driven the evolution of the multi-chambered vertebrate heart.

Brad Davidson and colleagues in Michael Levine's lab at UC Berkeley have discovered that the transcription factor Ets1/2, along with the signaling molecule FGF, controls early heart formation in the sea squirt, Ciona intestinalis.

Sea squirts are most commonly found in shallow ocean waters attached to algae, rocks or seaweed. They have been used for over 100 years as a highly useful experimental model organism for the study of animal development. A simple chordate, Ciona is being used in the lab to study the heart development of higher organisms because it shares several characteristics with vertebrates - although ultimately, Ciona, develops a heart with just one chamber (as opposed to vertebrates' multi-chambered heart).

All of the cells that form the Ciona heart are originally derived from two early embryonic cells (called bastomeres). These cells divide into separate lineages: the smaller rostral cells become heart muscle, while the larger caudal cells become tail muscle. Davidson and colleagues found that Ets1/2 underlies the cells' decision to become either heart or tail. When activated, Ets1/2 instructs cells to form heart muscle.

When the scientists blocked Ets1/2 activity (either by inhibiting the Ets1/2 gene, itself, or its upstream modulators), Ciona heart specification was likewise blocked. Alternatively, the over-expression of Ets1/2 in caudal cells caused the cells to switch their fate from tail to heart.

The expanded cardiac field in Ets1/2-activated mutants results in a proportion of animals having a functional, two-chambered heart. "The conversion of a simple heart tube into a complex heart was discovered by chance, but has general implications for the evolutionary origins of animal diversity and complexity", says Mike Levine, a co-author of the paper.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Hearts Or Tails? Genetics Of Multi-chambered Heart Evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060930094021.htm>.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. (2006, October 8). Hearts Or Tails? Genetics Of Multi-chambered Heart Evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060930094021.htm
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Hearts Or Tails? Genetics Of Multi-chambered Heart Evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060930094021.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins