Congenital heart defects account for 1% of infant mortality and 10% of in utero deaths. As the vertebrate embryo develops, multiple tissue types develop in tandem to morphologically pattern the functional heart. Underlying cardiac development is a network of transcription factors known to tightly control these morphological events. Members of the Twist family of basic helix–loop–helix transcription factors, Hand1 and Hand2, are essential to this process. The expression patterns and functional role of Hand factors in neural crest cells, endocardium, myocardium, and epicardium is indicative of their importance during cardiogenesis; however, to date, an extensive understanding of the transcriptional targets of Hand proteins and their overall mechanism of action remain unclear. In this review, we summarize the recent findings that further outline the crucial functions of Hand factors during heart development and in post-natal heart function. Anat Rec, 302:101–107, 2019.
- cardiac development
- molecular biology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics