May 3, 2012

Where did you come from? Understanding the answer to this question helps you get a grasp on who you are currently, and who you are becoming. Whoa, that was deep…enough of that crap! A recent paper puts the psychotherapy treatment on cells in the developing heart and adds to our understanding of where they are from.

The change that takes place in a developing heart is astounding—a simple tube structure with a single layer of cardiac muscle cells called cardiomyocytes must develop into a complex adult structure. How the early cardiomyocytes divide and move around to form the adult heart is difficult to map out due to their dynamic behavior and their location in a tissue that is difficult to image. A recent paper describes the use of a recently-developed technology called Brainbow, in which different cells can be labeled with about 90 different colors. Using Brainbow techniques, Gupta and Poss were able to track the division and movement of individual cardiomyocytes in the developing zebrafish heart, and found that the cells expand the cardiac tissue in patches of various sizes and shapes. By using clonal dominance as a mechanism for tissue expansion, the process is reminiscent of stem cells. The image above shows the surface of the ventricular side of a developing heart, each color representing a different clonal patch that arose from a single cardiomyocyte.

ResearchBlogging.orgGupta, V.; Poss, K. (2012). Clonally dominant cardiomyocytes direct heart morphogenesis Nature, 484 (7395), 479-484 DOI: 10.1038/nature11045
Adapted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd, copyright ©2012

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