Embryonic development: How does elevated Wnt signalling cause heart defects?

About 1 in every 100 babies born in Australia will have an abnormal heart because something went wrong with the way the organ was built during embryogenesis. In order for the heart (as well as most other organs) to develop properly, the embryo needs to distinguish left from right. The ability to do this is established very early in embryonic development. We have found that disruption of the WNT signal transduction pathway frequently disrupts the ability of an embryo to distinguish left from right. In this project you will conduct experiments, using mouse embryos and/or cultured cells, to understand exactly what goes wrong when WNT signalling activity is too high and how this leads to congenital heart defects.