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The epicardium and dorsal mesocardium are known to be the source of structures that form the wall of the coronary vessels. Because mouse knockout studies have shown that proper epicardial formation is also essential for myocardial development, we have studied in detail the migration and differentiation of epicardium-derived cells (EPDCs) within the(More)
The vascular smooth muscle cells of coronary arteries are distinguished from those of the proximal aorta by a number of structural and functional criteria which may include an increased propensity for atherosclerotic transformation. At present, the source of this variation between smooth muscle subpopulations is uncertain. Whilst smooth muscle of the(More)
Regulation of gap junction (GJ) organization is critical for proper function of excitable tissues such as heart and brain, yet mechanisms that govern the dynamic patterning of GJs remain poorly defined. Here, we show that zonula occludens (ZO)-1 localizes preferentially to the periphery of connexin43 (Cx43) GJ plaques. Blockade of the PDS95/dlg/ZO-1(More)
Connexin 43 (Cx43) is a gap junction (GJ) protein widely expressed in mammalian tissues that mediates cell-to-cell coupling. Intercellular channels comprising GJ aggregates form from docking of paired connexons, with one each contributed by apposing cells. Zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) binds the carboxy terminus of Cx43, and we have previously shown that(More)
Heterozygous mutations of the cardiac transcription factor Nkx2-5 cause atrioventricular conduction defects in humans by unknown mechanisms. We show in KO mice that the number of cells in the cardiac conduction system is directly related to Nkx2-5 gene dosage. Null mutant embryos appear to lack the primordium of the atrioventricular node. In Nkx2-5(More)
The heartbeat is initiated and coordinated by a heterogeneous set of tissues, collectively referred to as the pacemaking and conduction system (PCS). While the structural and physiological properties of these specialized tissues has been studied for more than a century, distinct new insights have emerged in recent years. The tools of molecular biology and(More)
A polyclonal antiserum, raised against a synthetic peptide matching part of the sequence of connexin43 (a rat cardiac gap-junctional protein), was used in combination with laser scanning confocal microscopy to investigate gap junction distribution in cardiac tissues from a range of mammalian species. Comparison of the localised punctate staining patterns(More)
Electrical coupling between heart muscle cells is mediated by specialised regions of sarcolemmal interaction termed gap junctions. In previous work, we have demonstrated that connexin42, a recently identified gap-junctional protein, is present in the specialised conduction tissues of the avian heart. In the present study, the spatial distribution of the(More)
The beginning of mesodermal development involves the aggregation of newly gastrulated cells into epithelial fields, as a prelude to organ formation. To analyze the molecular regulation of this initial patterning, we have focused on the Wnt family of secreted signaling proteins, molecules which have been shown to promote embryonic patterning by regulating(More)
The preparation of optically clear, thick sections of fragile embryonic tissues greatly aids the power of confocal scanning laser microscopy in imaging three-dimensional structures. We report here conditions for embedding, sectioning, and staining embryos in polyacrylamide gels for a variety of confocal imaging techniques. Infiltration of tissues in(More)