Absence of transverse tubules contributes to non-uniform Ca2+ wavefronts in mouse and human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes

Deborah Lieu, Jing Liu, Chung Wah Siu, Gregory P. McNerney, Hung Fat Tse, Amir Abu-Khalil, Thomas R Huser, Ronald A. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Mouse (m) and human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hESC-CMs) are known to exhibit immature Ca2+ dynamics such as small whole-cell peak amplitude and slower kinetics relative to those of adult. In this study, we examined the maturity and efficiency of Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release in m and hESC-CMs, the presence of transverse (t) tubules and its effects on the regional Ca2+ dynamics. In m and hESC-CMs, fluorescent staining and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were used to detect the presence of t-tubules, caveolin-3, amphiphysin-2 and colocalization of dihydropyridine receptors (DHPRs) and ryanodine receptors (RyRs). To avoid ambiguities, regional electrically-stimulated Ca2+ dynamics of single ESC-CMs, rather than spontaneously beating clusters, were measured using confocal microscopy. m and hESC-CMs showed absence of dyads, with neither t-tubules nor colocalization of DHPRs and RyRs. Caveolin-3 and amphiphysin-2, crucial for the biogenesis of t-tubules with robust expression in adult CMs, were also absent. Single m and hESC-CMs displayed non-uniform Ca2+ dynamics across the cell that is typical of CMs deficient of t-tubules. Local Ca2+ transients exhibited greater peak amplitude at the peripheral than at the central region for m (3.50 ± 0.42 vs. 3.05 ± 0.38) and hESC-CMs (2.96 ± 0.25 vs. 2.72 ± 0.25). Kinetically, both the rates of rise to peak amplitude and transient decay were faster for the peripheral relative to the central region. Immature m and hESC-CMs display unsynchronized Ca2+ transients due to the absence of t-tubules and gene products crucial for their biogenesis. Our results provide insights for driving the maturation of ESC-CMs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1493-1500
Number of pages8
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Hematology


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