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Dev Biol. 2004 Jan 1;265(1):75-89.

Imaging filopodia dynamics in the mouse blastocyst.

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Departamento de Fisiología Molecular y Genética del Desarrollo, Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), A.P. 510-3, Cuernavaca, Morelos 62271, México.


During mammalian development, the first cell lineage diversification event occurs in the blastocyst, when the trophectoderm (TE) and the inner cell mass (ICM) become established. Part of the TE (polar) remains in contact with the ICM and differs from the mural TE (mTE) which is separated from the ICM by a cavity known as the blastocoele. The presence of filopodia connecting ICM cells with the distant mural TE cells through the blastocoelic fluid was investigated in this work. We describe two types of actin-based cell projections found in freshly dissected and in vitro cultured expanding blastocysts: abundant short filopodia projecting into the blastocoelic cavity that present a continuous undulating behavior; and long, thin traversing filopodia connecting the mural TE with the ICM. Videomicroscopy analyses revealed the presence of vesicle-like structures moving along traversing filopodia and dynamic cytoskeletal rearrangements. These observations, together with immunolocalization of the FGFR2 and the ErbB3 receptors to these cell extensions, suggest that they display signal transduction activity. We propose that traversing filopodia are employed by mitotic mTE cells to receive the required signals for cell division after they become distant to the ICM.

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