Population and Single-Cell Analysis of Human Cardiogenesis Reveals Unique LGR5 Ventricular Progenitors in Embryonic Outflow Tract

Makoto Sahara, Federica Santoro, Jesper Sohlmér, Chikai Zhou, Nevin Witman, Chuen Yan Leung, Mimmi Mononen, Kristine Bylund, Peter Gruber, Kenneth R Chien.
Dev Cell. 2019-02-25;48(4):475-490.e7.
The morphogenetic process of mammalian cardiac development is complex and highly regulated spatiotemporally by multipotent cardiac stem/progenitor cells (CPCs). Mouse studies have been informative for understanding mammalian cardiogenesis; however, similar insights have been poorly established in humans. Here, we report comprehensive gene expression profiles of human cardiac derivatives from multipotent CPCs to intermediates and mature cardiac cells by population and single-cell RNA-seq using human embryonic stem cell-derived and embryonic/fetal heart-derived cardiac cells micro-dissected from specific heart compartments. Importantly, we discover a uniquely human subset of cono-ventricular region-specific CPCs, marked by LGR5. At 4 to 5 weeks of fetal age, the LGR5+ population appears to emerge specifically in the proximal outflow tract of human embryonic hearts and thereafter promotes cardiac development and alignment through expansion of the ISL1+TNNT2+ intermediates. The current study contributes to a deeper understanding of human cardiogenesis, which may uncover the putative origins of certain human congenital cardiac malformations.
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