ELABELA: A hormone essential for heart development signals via the apelin receptor

Serene C. Chng, Lena Ho, Jing Tian, Bruno Reversade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

366 Scopus citations


We report here the discovery and characterization ofa gene, ELABELA (ELA), encoding a conserved hormone of 32 amino acids. Present in human embryonic stem cells, ELA is expressed at the onset of zebrafish zygotic transcription and is ubiquitous in the naive ectodermal cells of the embryo. Using zinc-finger-nuclease-mediated gene inactivation in zebrafish, we created an allelic series of ela mutants. ela null embryos have impaired endoderm differentiation potential marked by reduced gata5 and sox17 expression. Loss of Ela causes embryos to develop with a rudimentary heart or no heart at all, surprisingly phenocopying the loss of the apelin receptor (aplnr), which we show serves as Ela's cognate G protein-coupled receptor. Our results reveal the existence of apeptide hormone, ELA, which, together with APLNR, forms an essential signaling axis for early cardiovascular development. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)672-680
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 23 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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