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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Dec 26;103(52):19812-7. Epub 2006 Dec 14.

Developmental stage-specific biphasic roles of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in cardiomyogenesis and hematopoiesis.

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  • 1Department of Cardiovascular Science and Medicine, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.


Although Wingless (Wg)/Wnt signaling has been implicated in heart development of multiple organisms, conflicting results have been reported regarding the role of Wnt/beta-catenin pathway in cardiac myogenesis: Wg/armadillo signaling promotes heart development in Drosophila, whereas activation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling inhibits heart formation in avians and amphibians. Using an in vitro system of mouse ES cell differentiation into cardiomyocytes, we show here that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling exhibits developmental stage-specific, biphasic, and antagonistic effects on cardiomyogenesis and hematopoiesis/vasculogenesis. Activation of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway in the early phase during embryoid body (EB) formation enhances ES cell differentiation into cardiomyocytes while suppressing the differentiation into hematopoietic and vascular cell lineages. In contrast, activation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in the late phase after EB formation inhibits cardiomyocyte differentiation and enhances the expression of hematopoietic/vascular marker genes through suppression of bone morphogenetic protein signaling. Thus, Wnt/beta-catenin signaling exhibits biphasic and antagonistic effects on cardiomyogenesis and hematopoiesis/vasculogenesis, depending on the stage of development.

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  • Early cardiac development: a Wnt beat away. [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007]
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