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Genesis. 2001 Nov;31(3):97-104.

Retinoid signaling and cardiac anteroposterior segmentation.

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Laboratório de Genética e Cardiologia Molecular, Hospital das Clínicao da Faculdade de Medicine, Universidade de São Paulo 05403-000, São Paulo, Brazil.


Establishment of anterior-posterior polarity is one of the earliest decisions in cardiogenesis. Specification of anterior (outflow) and posterior (inflow) structures ensures proper connections between venous system and inflow tract and between arterial tree and outflow tract. The last few years have witnessed remarkable progress in our understanding of cardiac anteroposterior patterning. Molecular cloning and subsequent studies on RALDH2, the key embryonic retinaldehyde dehydrogenase in retinoic acid (RA) synthesis, provided the missing link between teratogenic studies on RA deficiency and excess and normal chamber morphogenesis. We discuss work establishing the foundations of our current understanding of the mechanisms of cardiac anteroposterior segmentation, the reasons why early evidence pointing to the role of RA in anteroposterior segmentation was overlooked, and the key experiments unraveling the role of RA in cardiac anteroposterior segmentation. We have also integrated recent experiments in a model of cardiac anteroposterior patterning in which RALDH2 expression determines anteroposterior boundaries in the heart field.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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