Mix and (mis-)match - The mechanosensing machinery in the changing environment of the developing, healthy adult and diseased heart.


Division of Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Materials Science & Institute for Bioengineering, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [Email]


The composition and the stiffness of cardiac microenvironment change during development and/or in heart disease. Cardiomyocytes (CMs) and their progenitors sense these changes, which decides over the cell fate and can trigger CM (progenitor) proliferation, differentiation, de-differentiation or death. The field of mechanobiology has seen a constant increase in output that also includes a wealth of new studies specific to cardiac or cardiomyocyte mechanosensing. As a result, mechanosensing and transduction in the heart is increasingly being recognised as a main driver of regulating the heart formation and function. Recent work has for instance focused on measuring the molecular, physical and mechanical changes of the cellular environment - as well as intracellular contributors to the passive stiffness of the heart. On the other hand, a variety of new studies shed light into the molecular machinery that allow the cardiomyocytes to sense these properties. Here we want to discuss the recent work on this topic, but also specifically focus on how the different components are regulated at various stages during development, in health or disease in order to highlight changes that might contribute to disease progression and heart failure.

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