Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Biol. 2012 Aug 15;368(2):370-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2012.06.003. Epub 2012 Jun 13.

Extracellular matrix assembly and 3D organization during paraxial mesoderm development in the chick embryo.

Author information

Centro de Biologia Ambiental/Departamento de Biologia Animal, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.


The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a major player in the microenvironment governing morphogenesis. However, much is yet to be known about how matrix composition and architecture changes as it influences major morphogenetic events. Here we performed a detailed, 3D analysis of the distribution of two ECM components, fibronectin and laminin, during the development of the chick paraxial mesoderm. By resorting to whole mount double immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy, we generated a detailed 3D map of the two ECM components, revealing their supra-cellular architecture in vivo, while simultaneously retaining high resolution cellular detail. We show that fibronectin assembly occurs at the surface of the presomitic mesoderm (PSM), where a gradual increase in the complexity of the fibronectin matrix accompanies PSM maturation. In the rostral PSM, where somites form, fibronectin fibrils are thick and densely packed and some occupy the cleft which comes to separate the newly formed somite from the PSM. Our 3D approach revealed that laminin matrix assembly starts at the PSM surface as small dispersed patches, which are always localized closer to cells than the fibronectin matrix. These patches gradually grow and coalesce with neighboring patches, but do not generate a continuous laminin sheet, not even on epithelial somites and dermomyotome, suggesting that these epithelia develop in contact with a fenestrated laminin matrix. Unexpectedly, as the somite differentiates, its fibronectin and laminin matrices are maintained, thus initially containing both the epithelial dermomyotome and the mesenchymal sclerotome within the somite segment. Our analysis provides unprecedented details of the progressive in vivo assembly and 3D architecture of fibronectin and laminin matrices during paraxial mesoderm development. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that progressive ECM assembly and subsequent 3D organization are active driving and containing forces during tissue development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center