The Notch pathway is a crucial cell-fate regulator in the developing heart. Attention in the past centered on Notch function in cardiomyocytes. However, recent advances demonstrate that region-specific endocardial Notch activity orchestrates the patterning and morphogenesis of cardiac chambers and valves through regulatory interaction with multiple myocardial and neural crest signals. Notch also regulates cardiomyocyte proliferation and differentiation during ventricular chamber development and is required for coronary vessel specification. Here, we review these data and highlight disease connections, including evidence that Notch-Hey-Bmp2 interplay impacts adult heart valve disease and that Notch contributes to cardiac arrhythmia and pre-excitation syndromes.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.