Heart Disease

A cadherin gene enters MVP territory

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Science  28 Aug 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6251, pp. 940-941
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6251.940-f

The average human heart beats about 100,000 times daily. With each beat, the heart's four valves open and close tightly in a synchronized fashion, ensuring that blood flows in only one direction. For the 1 in 40 people with mitral valve prolapse (MVP), the valve between the heart's two left chambers does not close properly, which can cause blood to leak backward, reducing the heart's efficiency. Durst et al. studied three families predisposed to MVP and found mutations in a gene coding for a specific cadherin, a group of proteins that help cells adhere to one another. Studies in mice revealed that the mutations disrupt how cells move and organize themselves during heart valve morphogenesis.

Nature 10.1038/nature14670 (2015).

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