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J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(4), 34; doi:10.3390/jcdd3040034

Current Perspectives in Cardiac Laterality

1
CNR Neuroscience Institute and Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padua, 35122 Padova, Italy
2
Cardiovascular Development Group, Department of Experimental Biology, University of Jaen, 23071 Jaen, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Andy Wessels, Maurice van den Hoff and Robert G. Kelly
Received: 19 September 2016 / Revised: 23 November 2016 / Accepted: 5 December 2016 / Published: 9 December 2016
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Abstract

The heart is the first organ to break symmetry in the developing embryo and onset of dextral looping is the first indication of this event. Looping is a complex process that progresses concomitantly to cardiac chamber differentiation and ultimately leads to the alignment of the cardiac regions in their final topology. Generation of cardiac asymmetry is crucial to ensuring proper form and consequent functionality of the heart, and therefore it is a highly regulated process. It has long been known that molecular left/right signals originate far before morphological asymmetry and therefore can direct it. The use of several animal models has led to the characterization of a complex regulatory network, which invariably converges on the Tgf-β signaling molecule Nodal and its downstream target, the homeobox transcription factor Pitx2. Here, we review current data on the cellular and molecular bases of cardiac looping and laterality, and discuss the contribution of Nodal and Pitx2 to these processes. A special emphasis will be given to the morphogenetic role of Pitx2 and to its modulation of transcriptional and functional properties, which have also linked laterality to atrial fibrillation. View Full-Text
Keywords: left/right asymmetry; heart laterality; atrial identity; heart looping; nodal; Pitx2 left/right asymmetry; heart laterality; atrial identity; heart looping; nodal; Pitx2
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Campione, M.; Franco, D. Current Perspectives in Cardiac Laterality. J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3, 34.

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