The Drosophila model represents an attractive system in which to study the functional contribution of specific genes to organ development. Within the embryo, the heart tube serves as an informative developmental paradigm to analyze functional aspects of matricellular proteins. Here, we describe two essential extracellular matricellular proteins, Multiplexin (Mp) and Lonely heart (Loh). Each of these proteins contributes to the development and morphogenesis of the heart tube by regulating the activity/localization of essential extracellular proteins. Mp, which is secreted by heart cardioblasts and is specifically distributed in the lumen of the heart tube, binds to the signaling protein Slit, and facilitates its local signaling at the heart's luminal domain. Loh is an ADAMTS-like protein, which serves as an adapter protein to Pericardin (a collagen-like protein), promoting its specific localization at the abluminal domain of the heart tube. We also introduce the Drosophila orthologues of matricellular proteins present in mammals, including Thrombospondin, and SPARC, and discuss a possible role for Teneurins (Ten-A and Ten-M) in the heart. Understanding the role of these proteins provides a novel developmental perspective into the functional contribution of matricellular proteins to organ development.
Keywords: Drosophila; Heart; Heart tube formation; Lonely Heart; Matricellular proteins; Multiplexin; Slit.
Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V.