Development of the cardiac pacemaker

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2017 Apr;74(7):1247-1259. doi: 10.1007/s00018-016-2400-1. Epub 2016 Oct 21.


The sinoatrial node (SAN) is the dominant pacemaker of the heart. Abnormalities in SAN formation and function can cause sinus arrhythmia, including sick sinus syndrome and sudden death. A better understanding of genes and signaling pathways that regulate SAN development and function is essential to develop more effective treatment to sinus arrhythmia, including biological pacemakers. In this review, we briefly summarize the key processes of SAN morphogenesis during development, and focus on the transcriptional network that drives SAN development.

Keywords: Cardiac progenitors; Heart field; Pacemaker; Sinus node development; Sinus node dysfunction; Transcriptional regulation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmia, Sinus / etiology
  • Arrhythmia, Sinus / metabolism
  • Heart Diseases / therapy*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Pacemaker, Artificial* / adverse effects
  • Sinoatrial Node / metabolism
  • T-Box Domain Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins
  • T-Box Domain Proteins
  • Transcription Factors