Dr. Daniela Panáková, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, Germany
Group Leader Daniela Panáková from Pediatric Cardiology at University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, will present: "Integrating mechanical cues with Planar Cell Polarity signaling in heart development".
Mechanical cues, whether they arise from cell environment or are driven by cellular cytoskeletal dynamics, govern many biological processes. One fundamental question is how biochemical signaling integrates with mechanical cues in an organ-specific manner. Our work aims at deciphering the role of the Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) pathway and specifically its core component Vangl2 as a key regulator of mechanosensitive signaling in heart biology. The heart is the first functional organ to form during vertebrate development. Embryonic heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) have to couple together to form the electromechanical syncytium in a manner that leads to spontaneous and synchronized electrical activity and heart contraction. We use zebrafish developing heart as a powerful model to unravel the Vangl2 signal transduction in the embryonic cardiomyocytes and to identify whether the same mechanisms steer the cardiomyocyte differentiation in human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS-CM).