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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2008 Aug;18(4):311-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2008.07.011. Epub 2008 Sep 4.

Back and forth between cell fate specification and movement during vertebrate gastrulation.

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Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, D-01307 Dresden, Germany.


Animal body plan arises during gastrulation and organogenesis by the coordination of inductive events and cell movements. Several signaling pathways, such as BMP, FGF, Hedgehog, Nodal, and Wnt have well-recognized instructive roles in cell fate specification during vertebrate embryogenesis. Growing evidence indicates that BMP, Nodal, and FGF signaling also regulate cell movements, and that they do so through mechanisms distinct from those that specify cell fates. Moreover, pathways controlling cell movements can also indirectly influence cell fate specification by regulating dimensions and relative positions of interacting tissues. The current challenge is to delineate the molecular mechanisms via which the major signaling pathways regulate cell fate specification and movements, and how these two processes are coordinated to ensure normal development.

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