What is the role of the Jnk1 gene in heart development?

Zebrafish to dissect the role of jnk1 in cardiac development

Bill Chaudhry (lead researcher)

Newcastle upon Tyne, University of

Start date: 13 June 2016 (Duration 3 years)

A team of researchers at the University of Newcastle lead by Dr Bill Chaudhry are working out how a gene called Jnk1 is involved in heart formation during the development of the foetus in the womb.

Faults in Jnk1 and related genes cause congenital heart disease - when babies are born with heart defects. Unravelling the role of these genes in development could help understand why these defects happen.

Congenital heart disease usually occurs because a faulty gene has been expressed at some point during the development of the heart. We can find out about faulty genes by examining the genetic make-up of people with congenital heart disease, but research with animals such as mice or zebrafish can also help to find out how the heart develops or what causes its development to go wrong.

Dr Chaudhry thinks that Jnk1 is important for how many different genes contribute to the development of the heart. In this project, the researchers will use embryos from zebrafish to study how the Jnk1 gene helps to form the heart and what happens to the heart when Jnk1 doesn’t work correctly. Mice with no Jnk1 die in the womb, so using zebrafish instead means that researchers can get more information about the role of Jnk1 in developing animals.

This research may give clues to new ways to help prevent heart defects in children.

Project details

Grant amount £252,850
Grant type Project Grant
Start Date 13 June 2016
Duration 3 years
Reference PG/15/58/31611
Status In progress

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