Targoff Laboratory

Columbia University Medical Center
Department of Pediatrics | Division of Cardiology

Cardiac morphogenesis is a carefully orchestrated process representing the first organogenesis milestone in developing vertebrate embryos. Establishment of specific characteristics of two major cardiac chambers, a ventricle and an atrium, is crucial to formation of a functional heart. Despite the importance of maintaining unique features in chamber-specific cardiomyocytes, the regulatory mechanisms guiding these processes are yet to be uncovered. The strong association of NKX2-5 with human congenital heart disease in both chambers and our studies revealing the differential effects of nkx genes on ventricular and atrial cell number in zebrafish prompted our interest in the role of Nkx genes on chamber identity.