1. Developmental Biology
Download icon

Heart Morphogenesis: Twists and turns

  1. Emily S Noël  Is a corresponding author
  2. Jeroen Bakkers  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
  2. Hubrecht Institute - Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), University Medical Centre Utrecht, Netherlands
Cite this article as: eLife 2017;6:e32709 doi: 10.7554/eLife.32709
1 figure


How the heart tube forms a helical loop.

The heart develops from a primitive structure called the heart tube (top left). As the heart tube increases in length, the top of the tube (known as the arterial pole; AP) and the bottom of the tube (venous pole; VP) remain in position, so the tube buckles and twists to form a helical loop (top right), which undergoes further development to form a mature heart (not shown). The loop is always in a rightward direction (which is on the left in this ventral view). Le Garrec et al. show that opposing rotations at the two poles, together with the asymmetric ingression of cells into the heart, ensures that the loop is to the right. Simultaneously, the dorsal mesocardium, which attaches the heart tube to the body wall of the embryo (orange; bottom left), breaks down as the heart grows. This releases the heart tube so that it is only attached at the arterial and venous poles, allowing the helical loop to form (bottom right).

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)