How t-tubules develop in the heart

Development of the neonatal atrial t-tubule network and the involvement of Amphiphysin II & CLIP-170

Katharine Dibb (lead researcher)

Manchester, University of

Start date: 01 February 2014 (Duration 3 years)

Heart cells from the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) are marked by deep grooves called transverse (t)-tubules, which are important for normal contraction of the heart. Heart cells from the upper chambers (atria) were thought to lack t-tubules, but recently Dr Katharine Dibb and colleagues at the University of Manchester, have shown that t-tubules are present in large mammals (including humans) and are important for the atria to contract.

At birth t-tubules in the ventricle are either absent or immature and develop over the first weeks or months of life. However we know nothing about how t-tubules develop in the atria and thus how contraction is controlled in the atria of babies. In this project, the researchers will establish how immature t-tubules develop over the first weeks of life and how this changes the control of heart contraction. They will identify which proteins are important for the formation of t-tubules in the heart.

T-tubules disappear in diseases of the heart, such as heart failure, and loss of these structures may be linked to heart-rhythm disturbances, like atrial fibrillation. If we understand how t-tubules form in the first place, we could try and restore normal t-tubules structure and improve heart function in heart failure. Furthermore an understanding of how contraction is regulated in the newborn could help to develop treatments for babies born with congenital heart problems.

Project details

Grant amount £104,499
Grant type Fellowship
Application type PhD Studentship
Start Date 01 February 2014
Duration 3 years
Reference FS/14/4/30532
Status In progress

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