Fruit fly studies help explain human heart

Dec 20, 2005

Researchers at The Burnham Institute for Medical Research in San Diego have obtained detailed insights into the early formation of the human heart.

A team lead by Dr. Rolf Bodmer found two proteins -- called Robo and Slit -- are required for normal development of the heart and malfunction of either protein results in congenital heart defects.

Working with Drosophilia melanogaster, also known as the fruit fly, the researchers showed the Slit and Robo proteins accumulate in a specific alignment during the formation of the heart tube, a linear tube representing the primitive heart before its cells assume their rhythmical contractile functions. Proper alignment of the heart tube cells is critical for heart assembly and proper shape, or morphology and mutation of the proteins results in observed heart defects.

"These findings provide understanding of early controls in heart development, and we are eager to conduct further studies to reveal how these controls are executed," said Rolf Bodmer, corresponding author in the study.

The findings appear in the journal Current Biology.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: A two generation lens: Current state policies fail to support families with young children

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Peacock's train is not such a drag

16 minutes ago

The magnificent plumage of the peacock may not be quite the sacrifice to love that it appears to be, University of Leeds researchers have discovered.

Space: The final frontier... open to the public

38 minutes ago

Historically, spaceflight has been reserved for the very healthy. Astronauts are selected for their ability to meet the highest physical and psychological standards to prepare them for any unknown challenges. However, with ...

NASA releases IRIS footage of X-class flare (w/ Video)

38 minutes ago

On Sept. 10, 2014, NASA's newest solar observatory, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission joined other telescopes to witness an X-class flare – an example of one of the strongest solar flares—on ...

NASA sees Odile soaking Mexico and southwestern US

42 minutes ago

Tropical Storm Odile continues to spread moisture and generate strong thunderstorms with heavy rainfall over northern Mexico's mainland and the Baja California as well as the southwestern U.S. NASA's Tropical ...

Recommended for you

New hadrosaur noses into spotlight

17 hours ago

Call it the Jimmy Durante of dinosaurs – a newly discovered hadrosaur with a truly distinctive nasal profile. The new dinosaur, named Rhinorex condrupus by paleontologists from North Carolina State Univer ...

Scholar tracks the changing world of gay sexuality

21 hours ago

With same-sex marriage now legalized in 19 states and laws making it impossible to ban homosexuals from serving in the military, gay, lesbian and bisexual people are now enjoying more freedoms and rights than ever before.

User comments : 0