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Genesis August 1, 2010; 48 (8): 492-504.

Focal adhesion kinase is essential for cardiac looping and multichamber heart formation.

Doherty JT , Conlon FL , Mack CP , Taylor JM .

Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a critical mediator of matrix- and growth factor-induced signaling during development. Myocyte-restricted FAK deletion in mid-gestation mice results in impaired ventricular septation and cardiac compaction. However, whether FAK regulates early cardiogenic steps remains unknown. To explore a role for FAK in multi-chambered heart formation, we utilized anti-sense morpholinos to deplete FAK in Xenopus laevis. Xenopus FAK morphants exhibited impaired cardiogenesis, pronounced pericardial edema, and lethality by tadpole stages. Spatial-temporal assessment of cardiac marker gene expression revealed that FAK was not necessary for midline migration, differentiation, fusion of cardiac precursors, or linear heart tube formation. However, myocyte proliferation was significantly reduced in FAK morphant heart tubes and these tubes failed to undergo proper looping morphogenesis. Collectively our data imply that FAK plays an essential role in chamber outgrowth and looping morphogenesis likely stimulated by fibroblast growth factors (and possibly other) cardiotrophic factors.

PubMed ID: 20572259
PMC ID: PMC3618911
Article link: Genesis
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: chrd.1 fgf2 fgfr1 h4c4 mapk1 myh4 myh6 nkx2-5 ptk2 ptk2b tbx20 tbx5 tbxt
Morpholinos: ptk2 MO6 ptk2 MO7

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
, Highlighted article: "Focal adhesion kinase is essential for cardiac looping and multi-chamber heart formation" by Doherty, Conlon, Mack, and Taylor. 2010, Pubmed, Xenbase