Hearts damaged by heart disease have only a limited ability to repair themselves, since most heart cells, or cardiomyocytes, can’t divide. The ability to coax more cardiomyocytes to divide and proliferate would help in repairing the injured adult heart. But for that to happen, more must be learned about the molecular mechanisms underlying cardiomyocyte proliferation.
In recent research, Bin Zhou, M.D., Ph.D., working with Deyou Zheng, Ph.D., identified a transcription factor helps control cardiomyocyte proliferation in embryonic heart development and neonatal heart regeneration. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has awarded Drs. Zhou and Zheng, a four-year, $2.5 million grant to study the role of this transcription factor (known as RE1 silencing transcription factor, or REST) in regulating the cardiomyocyte cell cycle. Using both mouse models and human stem cell derived cardiomyocytes, Dr. Zhou and Dr. Zheng hope to determine the gene expression network by which REST controls adult cardiomyocyte proliferation. The research could lead to new strategies for repairing heart damage.
Dr. Zhou is professor of genetics, of pediatrics, and of medicine at Einstein. Dr. Zheng is professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology, of genetics, and in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience at Einstein. (1R01HL148128-01A1)
Posted on: Monday, August 17, 2020