Image of the Day: A Heart is Born

To track distinct populations of developing cardiovascular cells, scientists used pulses of electricity to introduce fluorescently labeled DNA into chick embryos.

Aug 28, 2017
The Scientist Staff

Time lapse of the developing cardiovascular system in a chick embryo. Isl1 (red fluorescent protein), Nkx2.5 (green fluorescent protein), or both (yellow) label cells. SHF (second heart field) gives rise to certain parts of the heart. DA: dorsal aortaL. ZAMIR ET AL., ELIFE, 6:E20994, 2017. During circulatory system development in chick embryos, the transcription factor Nkx2.5 makes a passing appearance in certain cells, scientists demonstrate. Its fleeting presence is important for differentiating the primitive cells that mature into the animal’s blood cells and vascular structures.

Scientists used fluorescent labels to monitor cell populations expressing such developmentally important proteins.

See L. Zamir et al., “Nkx2.5 marks angioblasts that contribute to hemogenic endothelium of the endocardium and dorsal aorta,” eLife6:e20994, 2017.