A publication from the Kelly team in Nature Communications, conducted by Caroline Choquet and Lucile Miquerol, focuses on the development of cardiac Purkinje fibers that serve as electrical cables in the ventricles to synchronize heartbeats. While these cells represent only a small part of the ventricular mass, they play a major role in the onset of ventricular arrhythmias. Although Purkinje fibers have properties similar to neuronal cells, these cells are of myogenic origin like contractile cardiomyocytes. This study traces the fate of Purkinje fiber progenitor cells using temporal clonal analysis, and shows that the electrical circuit of the ventricles is gradually built up by the progressive recruitment of embryonic cardiomyocytes. This recruitment accelerates in the fetal heart under the impulse of the activity of the gene encoding the transcription factor Nkx2-5. Reduced expression of this gene inhibits this late recruitment and causes hypoplasia of the Purkinje fiber network.


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Caroline Choquet, Robert G. Kelly & Lucile Miquerol

Nature Communications volume 11, Article number: 5300 (2020)

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Lucile Miquerol - Lucile.miquerol@univ-amu.fr