Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Hippo Heart

Keeping the balance between the muscle cells of the heart's atria and ventricles

08 August 2018

Hippo Heart

Fill your bathtub 20 times over and that's roughly how much blood your heart pumps around your body in a single day. It's a demanding job that requires power and rhythm, specifically the pumping action of the four chambers of the heart: two ventricles and two atria. These chambers are made of cells called cardiomyocytes. Researchers investigate how cardiomyocytes are produced during development using zebrafish embryos. A series of signalling proteins, together known as the Hippo pathway, regulate cell numbers in different organs. This pathway includes the enzymes lats1 and lats2. Getting rid of lats1 and 2 in zebrafish embryos (pictured, right) increased the number of atrial cardiomyocytes (green) when compared to normal embryos (left), as revealed by fluorescence microscopy. The number of ventricular cardiomyocytes (magenta) was unchanged. Creating the pumping powerhouse that is the heart therefore needs Hippo signalling to keep atrial cardiomyocyte numbers in check.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.