CKit+ cardiac progenitors of neural crest origin

Konstantinos E. Hatzistergos, Lauro M. Takeuchi, Dieter Saur, Barbara Seidler, Susan M. Dymecki, Jia Jia Mai, Ian A. White, Wayne Balkan, Rosemeire M. Kanashiro-Takeuchi, Andrew V. Schally, Joshua M. Hare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The degree to which cKit-expressing progenitors generate cardiomyocytes in the heart is controversial. Genetic fate-mapping studies suggest minimal contribution; however, whether or not minimal contribution reflects minimal cardiomyogenic capacity is unclear because the embryonic origin and role in cardiogenesis of these progenitors remain elusive. Using high-resolution genetic fate-mapping approaches with cKitCreERT2/+ and Wnt1::Flpe mouse lines, we show that cKit delineates cardiac neural crest progenitors (CNCkit). CNCkit possess full cardiomyogenic capacity and contribute to all CNC derivatives, including cardiac conduction system cells. Furthermore, by modeling cardiogenesis in cKitCreERT2-induced pluripotent stem cells, we show that, paradoxically, the cardiogenic fate of CNCkit is regulated by bone morphogenetic protein antagonism, a signaling pathway activated transiently during establishment of the cardiac crescent, and extinguished from the heart before CNC invasion. Together, these findings elucidate the origin of cKit+ cardiac progenitors and suggest that a nonpermissive cardiac milieu, rather than minimal cardiomyogenic capacity, controls the degree of CNCkit contribution to myocardium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13051-13056
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 20 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • BMP signalling
  • Cardiac neural crest
  • Cardiac stem cells
  • Cardiomyogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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