Chamber identity programs drive early functional partitioning of the heart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External Institution(s)

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Harvard University
  • University of Zurich
  • Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association
  • The University of Auckland


Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8146
JournalNature communications
StatusPublished - Aug 26 2015


The vertebrate heart muscle (myocardium) develops from the first heart field (FHF) and expands by adding second heart field (SHF) cells. While both lineages exist already in teleosts, the primordial contributions of FHF and SHF to heart structure and function remain incompletely understood. Here we delineate the functional contribution of the FHF and SHF to the zebrafish heart using the cis-regulatory elements of the draculin (drl) gene. The drl reporters initially delineate the lateral plate mesoderm, including heart progenitors. Subsequent myocardial drl reporter expression restricts to FHF descendants. We harnessed this unique feature to uncover that loss of tbx5a and pitx2 affect relative FHF versus SHF contributions to the heart. High-resolution physiology reveals distinctive electrical properties of each heart field territory that define a functional boundary within the single zebrafish ventricle. Our data establish that the transcriptional program driving cardiac septation regulates physiologic ventricle partitioning, which successively provides mechanical advantages of sequential contraction.

Citation formats


Mosimann, C., Panáková, D., Werdich, A. A., Musso, G., Burger, A., Lawson, K. L., ... Zon, L. I. (2015). Chamber identity programs drive early functional partitioning of the heart. Nature communications, 6, [8146].


Mosimann, C, Panáková, D, Werdich, AA, Musso, G, Burger, A, Lawson, KL, Carr, LA, Nevis, KR, Sabeh, MK, Zhou, Y, Davidson, AJ, Dibiase, A, Burns, CE, Burns, CG, Macrae, CA & Zon, LI 2015, 'Chamber identity programs drive early functional partitioning of the heart', Nature communications, vol. 6, 8146.