This R01 application will investigate a novel signaling pathway, the Hippo pathway, in mammalian heart regeneration. The long-term goal is to develop new treatments for patients with heart failure by generating new cardiomyocytes in the adult heart. The objectives of this application are to gain insight into molecular properties of cardiac tissue that are regulated by Hippo signaling. The central hypothesis is that Hippo signaling is a negative regulatory pathway that prevents cardiomyocyte regeneration in the adult mammalian heart.
The specific aims are to determine whether the Hippo and Wnt pathways regulate adult heart regeneration in a manner similar to the interaction in heart development; to determine whether the sumoylation post-translation modification is an important mechanism in Yap regulation; and to determine whether Hippo functions in the context of a chronic scar after myocardial infarction. The project is conceptually and technically innovative. Concepts to be tested include new ideas in cardiomyocyte biology and cutting edge genome editing technologies to address hypotheses. The significance is high because there are no treatments for heart failure due to cardiomyocyte loss. Devising ways to generate new cardiomyocytes is highly significant.
Heart failure due to cardiomyocyte (heart cell) loss and pump dysfunction after ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. We strive to facilitate cardiac regeneration after heart damage to improve survival rates. The limited ability of adult heart cells (cardiomyocytes) to divide and multiply negatively impacts the capacity of the heart to repair itself after acute damage. Our goal is to devise new methods to promote heart repair.
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