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These microscopy images demonstrate the effects of Notch signalling on the hearts of newborn mice (top) and of adult mice after a heart attack (bottom). In a normal neonatal heart (top left), the two major heart chambers (ventricles) are clearly separated by tissue (septum). But when Notch signalling was inactivated in an embryo’s heart muscle cells, the septum between the ventricles of the newborn mouse’s heart was incomplete (asterisk). The same defect commonly occurs in humans with congenital heart disease, often leading to circulatory distress. In the images of adult hearts (bottom), healthy tissue is shown in red and damaged tissue in blue. Normally (bottom left), a heart attack causes extensive tissue damage to the left ventricle (right-hand cavity), but mice in which Notch was re-activated after the heart attack had reduced tissue damage (bottom right) and improved cardiac function. Image credit: EMBL

From fruit fly wings to heart failure. Why Not(ch)?

Almost a century after it was discovered in fruit flies with notches in their wings, the Notch signalling pathway may come to play an important role in the recovery from heart attacks. In a study published today in Circulation Research, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)…

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Lost in the labyrinth

Blood cells have limited lifespans, which means that they must be continually replaced by calling up reserves and turning these into the blood cell types needed by the body. Claus Nerlov and his colleagues at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) unit in Monterotondo, Italy, in…

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Science

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