Understanding how heart muscle forms
A spool of thread can be weaved into almost any piece of clothing but for those without the knack, how that wooly jumper or cardigan came to be can seem impossible to untangle. Researchers studying the heart face a similar challenge as they try to uncover how heart muscle is formed, specifically the units called sarcomeres that allow it to contract. They investigated this process using a variety of microscopy techniques, including structured illumination, to image sarcomeres forming in human heart muscle cells grown in a dish (pictured). The team revealed that sarcomeres within a cell (bottom) are formed from muscle stress fibres (top). They went on to identify several proteins vital for the transition from muscle stress fibres to sarcomeres, adding to a growing picture of how heart muscle is made.
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