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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Embryonic heart induction.

We have characterized two signaling pathways that induce heart tissue during embryonic development. The first is initiated by the Wnt antagonist Dickkopf1 (Dkk1) and involves the homeodomain transcription factor Hex. Other Wnt antagonists are less effective and the potency of Dkk1 might be due to synergy between Wnt antagonizing and another, novel activity emanating from its amino terminal cysteine-rich domain. The second signal is initiated by Nodal and its co-receptor Cripto. Importantly, both the Dkk1/Wnt antagonism and Nodal pathways act on the endoderm that underlies the future heart to control secretion of diffusible factors that induce cardiogenesis in adjacent mesoderm. In this article, we summarize data that Dkk1 induces cardiogenic differentiation cell non-autonomously through the action of the homeodomain transcription factor Hex. We also discuss recent data showing that Nodal also acts indirectly through stimulation of the secreted protein Cerberus, which is a member of the differential-screening selected aberrant in neuroblastoma (DAN) family of secreted proteins. Finally, we present the model that signaling from Dkk1 regulates novel activities, in addition to Wnt antagonism, which are essential for progression beyond initiation of cardiogenesis to control later stages of cardiomyocyte differentiation and myocardial tissue organization.[1]


  1. Embryonic heart induction. Foley, A.C., Gupta, R.W., Guzzo, R.M., Korol, O., Mercola, M. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. (2006) [Pubmed]
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