Integration of in vitro heart models with genetically modified mouse models

Cells communicate with each other and with the ECM. The cell's internal cytoskeleton is physically connected via protein-protein interactions to other cells and the ECM. Within this line of research, the Medical Cell Biology Research Group has studied responsible interactor proteins (for instance alpha-catenins, beta-actin, cadherins).

We investigate the functionality, morphology, histology, and ultrastructural features of interactor protein-null murine hearts, also we use cardiomyocytes derived from interactor protein-null stem cells.

The aim of our work is not only to develop 3D in vitro cultures but also to make 3D reconstructions of the intercellular junction of the intercalated discs obtained from mouse models. We demonstrated that volume scanning electron microscopy revealed the close relationship between gap junctions and desmosomes and their spatial distribution in a 3D manner.



  • Jolanda van Hengel, principal investigator