Ott, E.B., van den Akker, N.M., Sakalis, P.A., Gittenberger-de Groot, A.C., Te Velthuis, A.J., and Bagowski, C.P. (2008) The lim domain only protein 7 is important in zebrafish heart development. Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 237(12):3940-3952.
The LIM domain only protein 7 (LMO7), a member of the PDZ and LIM domain-containing protein family is a candidate gene with possible roles in embryonic development and breast cancer progression. LMO7 has been linked to actin cytoskeleton organization through nectin/afadin and to cell-cell adhesion by means of E-cadherin/catenin. In addition, LMO7 has been shown to regulate transcription of the nuclear membrane protein Emerin and other muscle relevant genes. In this study, we used in situ hybridization to investigate LMO7 expression during embryonic development in three widely used vertebrate model species: the zebrafish, the chicken and the mouse. Our temporal and spatial gene expression analysis revealed both common and distinct patterns between these species. In mouse and chicken embryos we found expression in the outflow tract, the inflow tract, the pro-epicardial organ and the second heart field, structures highly important in the developing heart. Furthermore, gene knockdown experiments in zebrafish embryos resulted in severe defects in heart development with effects on the conduction system and on heart localization. In summary, we present here the first developmental study of LMO7. We reveal the temporal and spatial expression patterns of this important gene during mouse, chicken and fish development and our findings suggest essential functions for LMO7 during vertebrate heart development.