Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 30467108
Development 2018 Nov;145(22)
Extensive studies have shown how bilateral symmetry of the vertebrate embryo is broken during early development, resulting in a molecular left-right bias in the mesoderm. However, how this early asymmetry drives the asymmetric morphogenesis of visceral organs remains poorly understood. The heart provides a striking model of left-right asymmetric morphogenesis, undergoing rightward looping to shape an initially linear heart tube and align cardiac chambers. Importantly, abnormal left-right patterning is associated with severe congenital heart defects, as exemplified in heterotaxy syndrome. Here, we compare the mechanisms underlying the rightward looping of the heart tube in fish, chick and mouse embryos. We propose that heart looping is not only a question of direction, but also one of fine-tuning shape. This is discussed in the context of evolutionary and clinical perspectives.