Early steps in vertebrate cardiogenesis.
Mohun T., Sparrow D.
Heart formation provides an excellent model for studying the molecular basis of cell determination in vertebrate embryos. By combining molecular assays with the experimental approaches of classic embryology, a model for the cell signalling events that initiate cardiogenesis is emerging. Studies of chick, amphibian, and fish embryos demonstrate the inductive role of dorso-anterior endoderm in specifying the cardiac fate of adjacent mesoderm. A consequence of this signalling is the onset of cardiomyogenesis and several transcription factors--Nkx2-5-related, HAND, GATA and MEF-2 families--contribute to these events.