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Published April 1, 2015 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Dual developmental role of transcriptional regulator Ets1 in Xenopus cardiac neural crest vs. heart mesoderm


Aims: Ets1 is an important transcription factor that is expressed in both the cardiac neural crest (NC) and heart mesoderm of vertebrate embryos. Moreover, Ets1 deletion in humans results in congenital heart abnormalities. To clarify the functional contributions of Ets1 in cardiac NC vs. heart mesoderm, we performed tissue-targeted loss-of-function analysis to compare the relative roles of Ets1 in these two tissues during heart formation using Xenopus embryos as a model system. Methods and results: We confirmed by in situ hybridization analysis that Ets1 is expressed in NC and heart mesoderm during embryogenesis. Using a translation-blocking antisense morpholino to knockdown Ets1 protein selectively in the NC, we observed defects in NC delamination from the neural tube, collective cell migration, as well as segregation of NC streams in the cranial and cardiac regions. Many cardiac NC cells failed to reach their destination in the heart, resulting in defective aortic arch artery formation. A different set of defects was noted when Ets1 knockdown was targeted to heart mesoderm. The formation of the primitive heart tube was dramatically delayed and the endocardial tissue appeared depleted. As a result, the conformation of the heart was severely disrupted. In addition, the outflow tract septum was missing, and trabeculae formation in the ventricle was abolished. Conclusion: Our study shows that Ets1 is required in both the cardiac NC and heart mesoderm, albeit for different aspects of heart formation. Our results reinforce the suggestion that proper interaction between these tissues is critical for normal heart development.

Additional Information

© 2015 The Author. Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. Received 24 November 2014; revised 2 February 2015; accepted 5 February 2015; online publish-ahead-of-print 17 February 2015. This work was supported by American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship (12POST8610001) and National Institutes of Health career grant (1K99DE022796) to S.N., and National Institutes of Health (R01HD037105) to M.E.B.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023