Coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor is essential for cardiomyocyte development.

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Genesis 2005 Jun; 42(2):77-85.


The coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR) is a transmembrane protein that is known to be a site of viral attachment and entry, but its physiologic functions are undefined. CAR expression is maximal in neonates and wanes rapidly after birth in organs such as heart, muscle, and brain, suggesting that CAR plays a role in the development of these tissues. Here, we show that CAR deficiency resulted in an embryonic lethal condition associated with cardiac defects. Specifically, commencing approximately 10.5 days postconception (dpc), CAR-/- cardiomyocytes exhibited regional apoptosis evidenced by both histopathologic features of cell death and positive staining for the apoptotic marker cleaved caspase 3. CAR-/- fetuses invariably suffered from degeneration of the myocardial wall and thoracic hemorrhaging, leading to death by 11.5 dpc. These findings are consistent with the view that CAR provides positive survival signals to cardiomyocytes that are essential for normal heart development.