Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Building the Wall

Maintaining the vital integrity of the heart wall depends on a protein called KLF2

15 January 2019

Building the Wall

More powerful than abs of steel or brawny biceps, your heart is the strongest muscle in your body. Its strength comes from the heart wall, which includes a layer of muscle, the myocardium and an inner lining, the endocardium. Wall integrity is essential for heart development and function, and how it’s maintained has been studied by researchers in zebrafish by focusing on a protein found in the endocardium, KLF2. Imaging the hearts of zebrafish mutants lacking KLF2 using confocal microscopy and 3D reconstructions revealed that myocardium cells were pushed outwards in mutants, as observed from the outside (left) and inside (right) of the heart. The team also found defects in signalling molecules in the mutants too, specifically with one called FGF. Blocking FGF signalling in normal hearts mimicked the defects seen in mutants, hinting at the inner workings of maintaining heart wall integrity.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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