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Dev Cell. 2005 Mar;8(3):305-20.

Gastrulation movements: the logic and the nuts and bolts.

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Institut für Genetik, Universität zu Köln, Zülpicherstrasse 47, D-50674 Köln, Germany.


Gastrulation, the period during the early development of animals when major cell and tissue movements remodel an initially unstructured group of cells, requires coordinated control of different types of cellular activities in different cell populations. A hierarchy of genetic control mechanisms, involving cell signaling and transcriptional regulation, sets up the embryonic axes and specify the territories of the future germ layers. Cells in these territories modulate their cytoskeleton and their adhesive behavior, resulting in shape changes and movement. Similarities among different species in patterning and cell biological mechanisms are beginning to allow us to recognize general, conserved principles and speculate on possible ancestral mechanisms of gastrulation.

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