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Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2011 Jun;91(6):435-40. doi: 10.1002/bdra.20804. Epub 2011 Apr 28.

Wnt signaling regulates atrioventricular canal formation upstream of BMP and Tbx2.

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Hubrecht Institute, KNAW & University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


In the developing heart, the atrioventricular canal (AVC) is essential for separation and alignment of the cardiac chambers, for valve formation, and serves to delay the electrical impulse from the atria to the ventricles. Defects in various aspects of its formation are the most common form of congenital heart defects. Using mutant and transgenic approaches in zebrafish, this study demonstrates that Wnt/β-catenin signaling is both sufficient and required for the induction of BMP4 and Tbx2b expression in the AVC and consequently the proper patterning of the myocardium. Furthermore, genetic analysis shows that Wnt/β-catenin signaling is upstream and in a linear pathway with BMP and Tbx2 during AVC specification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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