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Dev Biol. 2007 Aug 15;308(2):266-80. Epub 2007 Jun 5.

Mitochondria, redox signaling and axis specification in metazoan embryos.

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Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Salisbury Cove, ME 04672, USA.


Mitochondria are not only the major energy generators of the eukaryotic cell but they are also sources of signals that control gene expression and cell fate. While mitochondria are often asymmetrically distributed in early embryos, little is known about how they contribute to axial patterning. Here we review studies of mitochondrial distribution in metazoan eggs and embryos and the mechanisms of redox signaling, and speculate on the role that mitochondrial anisotropies might play in the developmental specification of cell fate during embryogenesis of sea urchins and other animals.

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