THE CARDIAC INTERCALATED DISC: FROM CONTRACTION-EXCITATION COUPLING TO HEART REGENERATION?
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*STAR, Singapore
The limited regenerative potential of the adult heart is a major challenge for the effective prevention of heart failure. Loss of cardiomyocytes (CMs) after heart injury such as myocardial infarction results in replacement of the wasted heart muscle with non-contractile fibrotic scar tissue, eventually leading to heart failure. N-cadherin based adherens junctions and desmocollin based desmosomes in the intercalated disc (ICD) provide mechanical coupling between CMs. I will discuss recent evidence that components of the ICD are not only important for mechanical coupling of CMs, but also suppress CM proliferation, possibly providing novel therapeutic targets.