Insights into the Biological Pathway That Leads to Heart Formation

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on  October 28, 2016 at 10:24 AM Genetics & Stem Cells News
RSS Email Print This Page Comment bookmark
Font : A-A+

A pathway essential to heart formation has been identified by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center's Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine. In the process, researchers unveiled a mechanism that may explain how some previously puzzling segments of the genome work. The DNA sequence they studied - which they named Upperhand (Uph) - is located just before a gene called Hand2 which controls the development of the heart as it grows in the womb.
 Insights into the Biological Pathway That Leads to Heart Formation
Insights into the Biological Pathway That Leads to Heart Formation

"These findings uncover a new and unexpected step in the control of heart formation whereby one gene, Upperhand, regulates the expression of the neighboring gene, Hand2, by an unusual mechanism," said Dr. Eric Olson, Director of the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine, and Chairman of Molecular Biology.

Upperhand works something like a safe, which holds the controls for Hand2 locked inside it.

Upperhand has to be opened up first for the Hand2 controls to be exposed. That ultimately allows Hand2 to set in motion a whole sequence of events that are crucial to formation of the heart.

Upperhand also may help explain the mystery behind why some DNA sequences don't serve as templates for synthesizing proteins like other DNA sequences. Those that don't are called non-coding DNA and scientists have been pondering what they do and how they work.

"These non-coding sequences are the mysterious "dark matter" of the genome," said Dr. Olson, who holds the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Science, the Pogue Distinguished Chair in Research on Cardiac Birth Defects, and the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research.

Upperhand is one such "non-coding" DNA that doesn't serve as the template for a protein.

"Why would it be located before Hand2, we wondered? What we learned is that the [controls] for Hand2 just happen to be trapped inside Upperhand," Dr. Olson said. "This is probably a general mechanism for the control of many genes that are important in development, because so many cardiac control genes are adjacent to non-coding RNAs and nobody ever understood why that is."

Source: Eurekalert

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions

More News on:

Heart Healthy Heart Statins Mitral Valve Prolapse Aortic Valve Stenosis Pericarditis 

News A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement
Find a Doctor

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

Facebook

Advertisement

News Category

News Archive