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Pacemaker Cell Specification of Cardiac Mesoderm

Despite recent advances in cardiac chamber‐specific differentiation of pluripotent stem cells, the molecular drivers that dictate cardiac pacemaker cell differentiation remain incompletely understood. However, a new STEM CELLS study led by Wenbin Liang (University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) and Hee Cheol Cho (Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA) now demonstrates that canonical Wnt signaling promotes the cardiac pacemaker lineage differentiation of embryonic stem cell-derived cardiac progenitor cells. The authors note that de novo pacemaker cells exhibit hallmark features of native pacemaker cells, attesting to their therapeutic potential for cardiac rhythm‐related diseases.