Persistent Noggin arrests cardiomyocyte morphogenesis and results in early in utero lethality

Olga Simmons, Paige Snider, Jain Wang, Robert J. Schwartz, Yiping Chen, Simon J. Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Multiple bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) genes are expressed in the developing heart from the initiation to late-differentiation stages, and play pivotal roles in cardiovascular development. In this study, we investigated the requirement of BMP activity in heart development by transgenic over-expression of extracellular BMP antagonist Noggin. Results: Using Nkx2.5-Cre to drive lineage-restricted Noggin within cardiomyocyte progenitors, we show persistent Noggin arrests cardiac development at the linear heart stage. This is coupled with a significantly reduced cell proliferation rate, subsequent cardiomyocyte programmed cell death and reduction of downstream intracellular pSMAD1/5/8 expression. Noggin mutants exhibit reduced heartbeat which likely results in subsequent fully penetrant in utero lethality. Significantly, confocal and electron micrographic examination revealed considerably fewer contractile elements, as well as a lack of maturation of actin-myosin microfilaments. Molecular analysis demonstrated that ectopic Noggin-expressing regions in the early heart's pacemaker region, failed to express the potassium/sodium hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel 4 (Hcn4), resulting in an overall decrease in Hcn4 levels. Conclusions: Combined, our results reveal a novel role for BMP signaling in the progression of heart development from the tubular heart stage to the looped stage by means of regulation of proliferation and promotion of maturation of the in utero heart's contractile apparatus and pacemaker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-467
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • BMP
  • Bradycardia
  • Cardiomyocyte
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Contractile apparatus
  • Mouse embryo
  • Noggin
  • Proliferation
  • Transgenic overexpression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology

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