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Keywords:

  • itgb8;
  • αvβ8 integrin;
  • extracellular matrix;
  • TGFβ;
  • cardiac neural crest

Abstract

Morphogenesis of the heart is regulated by various cues, including growth factors and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. The mechanisms by which cardiac cells properly integrate these cues to regulate growth, differentiation, and migration remain poorly understood. Here we have used genetic strategies in mice to identify αvβ8 integrin and its cytoskeletal adaptor protein, Band 4.1B, as essential regulators of cardiac morphogenesis. We demonstrate that approximately 60% of mouse embryos genetically null for β8 integrin and Band 4.1B display cardiovascular phenotypes and die by E11.5. This premature death is due, in part, to defective development of the cardiac outflow tract (OFT), with reduced expression of smooth muscle α-actin (SMAα-actin) in OFT cells derived from the cardiac neural crest. These data are the first to identify cell adhesion and signaling pathways regulated by αvβ8 integrin and Band 4.1B as essential for normal formation and function of the heart during embryogenesis. Developmental Dynamics, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.