The genetic basis of heart development is remarkably conserved from Drosophila to mammals, and insights from flies have greatly informed our understanding of vertebrate heart development. Recent evidence suggests that many aspects of heart function are also conserved and the genes involved in heart development also play roles in adult heart function. We have developed a Drosophila heart preparation and movement analysis algorithm that allows quantification of functional parameters. Our methodology combines high-speed optical recording of beating hearts with a robust, semi-automated analysis to accurately detect and quantify, on a beat-to-beat basis, not only heart rate but also diastolic and systolic intervals, systolic and diastolic diameters, percent fractional shortening, contraction wave velocity, and cardiac arrhythmicity. Here, we present a detailed analysis of hearts from adult Drosophila, 2-3-day-old zebrafish larva, and 8-day-old mouse embryos, indicating that our methodology is potentially applicable to an array of biological models. We detect progressive age-related changes in fly hearts as well as subtle but distinct cardiac deficits in Tbx5 heterozygote mutant zebrafish. Our methodology for quantifying cardiac function in these genetically tractable model systems should provide valuable insights into the genetics of heart function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)