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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2007 Feb;18(1):67-76. Epub 2007 Jan 17.

Transcriptional pathways in second heart field development.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute and Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Mail Code 2240, University of California, San Francisco, California 94158-2517, USA.


The heart is the first organ to form and function during vertebrate development and is absolutely essential for life. The left ventricle is derived from the classical primary or first heart field (FHF), while the right ventricle and outflow tract are derived from a distinct second heart field (SHF). The recent discovery of the SHF has raised several fundamental and important questions about how the two heart fields are integrated into a single organ and whether unique molecular programs control the development of the two heart fields. This review briefly highlights the contributions of the SHF to the developing and mature heart and then focuses primarily on our current understanding of the transcriptional pathways that function in the development of the SHF and its derivatives.

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