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Nat Biotechnol. 2008 Oct;26(10):1169-78. doi: 10.1038/nbt.1497. Epub 2008 Sep 28.

Notch signaling respecifies the hemangioblast to a cardiac fate.

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Department of Gene and Cell Medicine, The Black Family Stem Cell Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


To efficiently generate cardiomyocytes from embryonic stem (ES) cells in culture it is essential to identify key regulators of the cardiac lineage and to develop methods to control them. Using a tet-inducible mouse ES cell line to enforce expression of a constitutively activated form of the Notch 4 receptor, we show that signaling through the Notch pathway can efficiently respecify hemangioblasts to a cardiac fate, resulting in the generation of populations consisting of >60% cardiomyocytes. Microarray analyses reveal that this respecification is mediated in part through the coordinated regulation of the BMP and Wnt pathways by Notch signaling. Together, these findings have uncovered a potential role for the Notch pathway in cardiac development and provide an approach for generating large numbers of cardiac progenitors from ES cells.

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