Send to

Choose Destination
Genesis. 2013 Apr;51(4):219-33. doi: 10.1002/dvg.22368. Epub 2013 Feb 25.

Anatomy of a blastocyst: cell behaviors driving cell fate choice and morphogenesis in the early mouse embryo.

Author information

Developmental Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, NY, USA.


The preimplantation period of mouse early embryonic development is devoted to the specification of two extraembryonic tissues and their spatial segregation from the pluripotent epiblast. During this period two cell fate decisions are made while cells gradually lose their totipotency. The first fate decision involves the segregation of the extraembryonic trophectoderm (TE) lineage from the inner cell mass (ICM); the second occurs within the ICM and involves the segregation of the extraembryonic primitive endoderm (PrE) lineage from the pluripotent epiblast (EPI) lineage, which eventually gives rise to the embryo proper. Multiple determinants, such as differential cellular properties, signaling cues and the activity of transcriptional regulators, influence lineage choice in the early embryo. Here, we provide an overview of our current understanding of the mechanisms governing these cell fate decisions ensuring proper lineage allocation and segregation, while at the same time providing the embryo with an inherent flexibility to adjust when perturbed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center