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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2004 Oct;15(5):563-72.

First cell fate decisions and spatial patterning in the early mouse embryo.

Author information

  • 1Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QR, UK. mzg@mole.bio.cam.ac.uk

Abstract

A growing body of evidence indicates that although the early mouse embryo retains flexibility in responding to perturbations, its patterning is initiated at the earliest developmental stages. There are a few spatial cues that are able to influence the pattern of cleavage divisions: one of these lies in the vicinity of the previous meiotic division, the second is associated with the sperm entry and, related to this, the third is the cell shape. Furthermore, the first cleavage separates the zygote into two cells that tend to follow distinguishable fates: one contributes mainly to the embryonic part of the blastocyst, and the other to the abembryonic. The cumulative effect of the early asymmetries generated through cleavage might lead to asymmetric interactions between the first lineages of cells. This could influence development of patterning after implantation. These early polarity cues serve to bias patterning and not as definitive determinants.

PMID:
15271302
DOI:
10.1016/j.semcdb.2004.04.004
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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