In normal cardiac conduction, the sinoatrial node (SAN) is the functional pacemaker. However, little was known about the transcriptomic and proteomic features of this focal, yet heterogeneous, anatomical structure. Linscheid et al. made a significant contribution to our understanding of the SAN through proteomic and single-nucleus RNA sequencing of sinus node biopsies (1). In a report from last year, Liang et al. further refined the characterization of the murine SAN through single cell-RNA sequencing and weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA). The researchers categorized SAN cells into four transcriptional clusters and described a core gene cluster of electrogenic genes. SAN cells were grouped on the basis of functional analyses of the differentially expressed genes. Vsnl1, a cAMP-modulating neuronal calcium sensor protein, was identified as a potential SAN marker that appears to regulate cardiac electrical activity (2). The seminal discoveries described in these studies present novel insight into cardiac biology.
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- Nat Commun. 2019 Jun 28;10(1):2889. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10709-9.
- Nat Commun. 2021 Jan 12;12(1):287. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-20448-x.