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Albrecht, S., Wang, S., Holz, A., Bergter, A., Paululat, A. (2006). The ADAM metalloprotease Kuzbanian is crucial for proper heart formation in Drosophila melanogaster.  Mech. Dev. 123(5): 372--387.
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We have screened a collection of EMS mutagenized fly lines in order to identify genes involved in cardiogenesis. In the present work, we have studied a group of alleles exhibiting a hypertrophic heart. Our analysis revealed that the ADAM protein (A Disintegrin And Metalloprotease) Kuzbanian, which is the functional homologue of the vertebrate ADAM10, is crucial for proper heart formation. ADAMs are a family of transmembrane proteins that play a critical role during the proteolytic conversion (shedding) of membrane bound proteins to soluble forms. Enzymes harboring a sheddase function recently became candidates for causing several congenital diseases, like distinct forms of the Alzheimer disease. ADAMs play also a pivotal role during heart formation and vascularisation in vertebrates, therefore mutations in ADAM genes potentially could cause congenital heart defects in humans. In Drosophila, the zygotic loss of an active form of the Kuzbanian protein results in a dramatic excess of cardiomyocytes, accompanied by a loss of pericardial cells. Our data presented herein suggest that Kuzbanian acts during lateral inhibition within the cardiac primordium. Furthermore we discuss a second function of Kuzbanian in heart cell morphogenesis.

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