Molecular genetic analyses of human hereditary disorders that affect cardiac atrial structure and function have recently identified several genes that regulate atrial morphogenesis. Mutations of the TBX5, NKX2.5, EVC, and PRKAR1Î± genes all result in abnormalities of human atrial growth and development, and mutations in at least one gene results in familial atrial fibrillation and is as yet unidentified. Ongoing studies to find interactions between these transcription factors and intracellular signaling molecules and other as yet unknown genes are establishing critical pathways in human cardiogenesis. Human investigation and experimental animal models of heart development synergize to elucidate etiologies of common congenital heart disease. Copyright Â© 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.
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