Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Lidia Kos

Abstract

The coordinated beating of the heart depends on a group ofhighly specialized cells that constitute the cardiac conduction system. Among these cells, the Purkinje fibers are responsible for propagation of the electric impulse into the ventricles. In early stages of development, Purkinje fibers and skeletal muscle fibers originate from similar but separate populations of myocytes. The role of the MyoD family of transcription factors in the development of the myotube is well known, but the role of these factors in the development of the Purkinje fiber is not. Members of the T-Box family of transcription.The coordinated beating of the heart depends on a group ofhighly specialized cells that constitute the cardiac conduction system. Among these cells, the Purkinje fibers are responsible for propagation of the electric impulse into the ventricles. In early stages of development, Purkinje fibers and skeletal muscle fibers originate from similar but separate populations of myocytes. The role of the MyoD family of transcription factors in the development of the myotube is well known, but the role of these factors in the development of the Purkinje fiber is not. Members of the T-Box family of transcription factors are also involved in the development of various cardiac tissues, including the conduction system but little is known about their role in the development of the Purkinje fiber. We explored the expression of members of the MyoD and T-Box families in the developing cardiac conduction system in vivo and in vitro. We showed that the expression of these factors changes as the myocyte differentiates into the Purkinje fiber. We also showed that NRG-1, a secreted protein involved in the development of the Purkinje fiber, features a dose-dependent response in the differentiation of cultured ventricular myocytes.

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