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Cross Talk between Cell–Cell and Cell–Matrix Adhesion Signaling Pathways during Heart Organogenesis: Implications for Cardiac Birth Defects

  • Kersti K. Linask (a1), Shyam Manisastry (a1) and Mingda Han (a1)

Abstract

The anterior–posterior and dorsal–ventral progression of heart organogenesis is well illustrated by the patterning and activity of two members of different families of cell adhesion molecules: the calcium-dependent cadherins, specifically N-cadherin, and the extracellular matrix glycoproteins, fibronectin. N-cadherin by its binding to the intracellular molecule β-catenin and fibronectin by its binding to integrins at focal adhesion sites, are involved in regulation of gene expression by their association with the cytoskeleton and through signal transduction pathways. The ventral precardiac mesoderm cells epithelialize and become stably committed by the activation of these cell–matrix and intracellular signaling transduction pathways. Cross talk between the adhesion signaling pathways initiates the characteristic phenotypic changes associated with cardiomyocyte differentiation: electrical activity and organization of myofibrils. The development of both organ form and function occurs within a short interval thereafter. Mutations in any of the interacting molecules, or environmental insults affecting either of these signaling pathways, can result in embryonic lethality or fetuses born with severe heart defects. As an example, we have defined that exposure of the embryo temporally to lithium during an early sensitive developmental period affects a canonical Wnt pathway leading to β-catenin stabilization. Lithium exposure results in an anterior–posterior progression of severe cardiac defects.

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Corresponding author

Corresponding author. E-mail: klinask@hsc.usf.edu

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Keywords

Cross Talk between Cell–Cell and Cell–Matrix Adhesion Signaling Pathways during Heart Organogenesis: Implications for Cardiac Birth Defects

  • Kersti K. Linask (a1), Shyam Manisastry (a1) and Mingda Han (a1)

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