The protein encoded by this gene belongs to the basic helix-loop-helix family of transcription factors. This gene product is one of two closely related family members, the HAND proteins are expressed within the developing ventricular chambers, cardiac neural crest, endocardium (HAND2 only) and epicardium (HAND2 only) . HAND1 is expressed with myocardium of the primary heart field and plays an essential but poorly understood role in cardiac morphogenesis. HAND factors function in the formation of the right ventricle, left ventricle, aortic arch arteries, epicardium, and endocardium implicating them as mediators of congenital heart disease. In addition, HAND1 is uniquely expressed in trophoblasts and is essential for early trophoblast differentiation.
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