Wnt-11 signalling controls ventricular myocardium development by patterning N-cadherin and β-catenin expression

Irina I. Nagy, Antti Railo, Risto Rapila, Terhi Hast, Raija Sormunen, Pasi Tavi, Juha Räsänen, Seppo J. Vainio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


AimsThe stage-dependent organization of the cardiomyocytes during formation of the different layers of the developing ventricular wall is critical for the establishment of a functional heart, but the instructive signals involved are still poorly known. We have addressed the potential role of Wnt-11 in the control of early ventricular myocardium assembly.Methods and resultsWe demonstrate by means of expression analysis and a mouse model in which Wnt-11 function has been inactivated that Wnt-11 is expressed by the embryonic ventricular cardiomyocytes and serves as one important signal for ventricular wall development. In the absence of Wnt-11, the coordinated organization, intercellular contacts, co-localized expression of the cell adhesion components N-cadherin and β-catenin, and the cytoskeleton of the differentiating ventricular cardiomyocytes are all disturbed. Moreover, the ventricular wall lacking Wnt-11 signalling is thinner and the expression of the Gata-4, Nkx2.5, Mef2c, ANP, and BNP genes is down-regulated relative to controls. These defects lie behind disturbed embryonic cardiac functional development, marked by an increase in the ventricular relaxation time during the early diastole.ConclusionWe conclude that Wnt-11 signalling serves as a critical cell adhesion cue for the organization of the cardiomyocytes in the developing ventricular wall, which is essential for the establishment of a functional heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-109
Number of pages10
JournalCardiovascular research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cadherin
  • Cardiogenesis
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Echocardiography
  • Myocardium
  • Wnt-11

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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