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Cardiogenesis in the Drosophila model: control mechanisms during early induction and diversification of cardiac progenitors.

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Brookdale Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


The dorsal vessel of Drosophila displays developmental, functional, and morphological similarities to the primitive linear heart tube of early vertebrate embryos. Because these similarities extend to the genetic and molecular level, Drosophila has become a fruitful model to study control mechanisms of early heart development. Herein we summarize recently obtained insights into control mechanisms during early induction and diversification of cardiac progenitors in Drosophila. We also show that induction of tinman, a key cardiogenic gene, in the dorsal mesoderm by Dpp (Drosophila BMP) involves protein/protein interactions between Tinman and the Smad proteins Mad and Medea, in addition to their DNA-binding activities to specific tinman enhancer sequences. Furthermore, we present evidence that binding of a high-mobility-group protein, HMG-D, to the Dpp-responsive enhancer of tinman as well as to the Tinman protein may be involved in the formation of a fully active enhancer complex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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