Author(s): Moretti A, Lam J, Evans SM, Laugwitz KL
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Abstract The LIM-homeodomain transcription factor Islet-1 (Isl1) marks a cell population which makes a substantial contribution to the embryonic heart. Isl1 expression is downregulated as soon as the cells adopt a differentiated phenotype, suggesting that this transcription factor delineates a cardiogenic progenitor cell population. Taking advantage of this developmental lineage marker, we have identified in the postnatal heart a novel cardiac cell type, which is capable of self-renewal and readily differentiates into mature cardiomyocytes. Utilization of embryonic stem (ES) cells that harbour knock-ins of reporter genes into the endogenous Isl1 locus will enable us to isolate Isl1+ cardiac progenitors from mouse and human ES cell systems during in vitro cardiogenesis. These genetic cell-based systems should allow the direct identification of signalling pathways which guide formation, renewal and diversification of Isl1+ cardiogenic progenitors into distinct heart cell lineages, and would complement in vitro studies in the mouse embryo during cardiac development.
This article was published in Cell Mol Life Sci
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology