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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2017 Nov;71:129-136. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2017.05.011. Epub 2017 May 31.

Forceful patterning in mouse preimplantation embryos.

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Temasek Life-Sciences Laboratory, Singapore. Electronic address:
Temasek Life-Sciences Laboratory, Singapore.
Temasek Life-Sciences Laboratory, Singapore; Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore; Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore. Electronic address:


The generation of a functional organism from a single, fertilized ovum requires the spatially coordinated regulation of diverse cell identities. The establishment and precise arrangement of differentiated cells in developing embryos has, historically, been extensively studied by geneticists and developmental biologists. While chemical gradients and genetic regulatory networks are widely acknowledged to play significant roles in embryo patterning, recent studies have highlighted that mechanical forces generated by, and exerted on, embryos are also crucial for the proper control of cell differentiation and morphogenesis. Here we review the most recent findings in murine preimplantation embryogenesis on the roles of cortical tension in the coupling of cell-fate determination and cell positioning in 8-16-cell-stage embryos. These basic principles of mechanochemical coupling in mouse embryos can be applied to other pattern formation phenomena that rely on localized modifications of cell polarity proteins and actin cytoskeletal components and activities.


Cortical contractility; Fate; Forces; Mechanotransduction; Polarity; YAP

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