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Stem Cells Dev 2011 Nov 01;2011:1973-83. doi: 10.1089/scd.2010.0490.
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Canonical WNT signaling enhances stem cell expression in the developing heart without a corresponding inhibition of cardiogenic differentiation.

Martin LK , Mezentseva NV , Bratoeva M , Ramsdell AF , Eisenberg CA , Eisenberg LM .

WNT signaling has been shown to influence the development of the heart. Although recent data suggested that canonical WNTs promote the emergence and expansion of cardiac progenitors in the pregastrula embryo, it has long been accepted that once gastrulation begins, canonical WNT signaling needs to be suppressed for cardiac development to proceed. Yet, this latter supposition appears to be odds with the expression of multiple canonical WNTs in the developing heart. The present study examining the effect of ectopic canonical WNT signaling on cardiogenesis in the developing frog was designed to test the hypothesis that heart formation is dependent on the inhibition of canonical WNT activity at the onset of gastrulation. Here we report that cardiac differentiation of explanted precardiac tissue from the dorsal marginal zone was not suppressed by exposure to WNT1 protein, although expression of Tbx5, Tbx20, and Nkx2.5 was selectively reduced. Pharmacological activation of WNT signaling in intact embryos using the GSK3 inhibitor SB415286 did not prevent the formation of an anatomically normal and functionally sound heart, with the only defect observed being lower levels of the cardiac transcription factor Nkx2.5. In both the explant and whole embryo studies, expression of muscle genes and proteins was unaffected by ectopic canonical WNT signaling. In contrast, canonical Wnt signaling upregulated expression of the cardiac stem cell marker c-kit and pluripotency genes Oct25 and Oct60. However, this regulatory stimulation of stem cells did not come at the expense of blocking cardiac progenitors from differentiating.

PubMed ID: 21351874
PMC ID: PMC3202895
Article link: Stem Cells Dev
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: gsk3b kit nkx2-5 pou5f3.2 pou5f3.3 tbx20 tbx5 wnt1

References [+] :
Afouda, Xenopus explants as an experimental model system for studying heart development. 2010, Pubmed, Xenbase