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Curr Biol. 2017 Sep 25;27(18):R1024-R1035. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.07.010.

Coordination of Morphogenesis and Cell-Fate Specification in Development.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address:
Institute of Science and Technology Austria, 3400 Klosterneuburg, Austria.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address:


During animal development, cell-fate-specific changes in gene expression can modify the material properties of a tissue and drive tissue morphogenesis. While mechanistic insights into the genetic control of tissue-shaping events are beginning to emerge, how tissue morphogenesis and mechanics can reciprocally impact cell-fate specification remains relatively unexplored. Here we review recent findings reporting how multicellular morphogenetic events and their underlying mechanical forces can feed back into gene regulatory pathways to specify cell fate. We further discuss emerging techniques that allow for the direct measurement and manipulation of mechanical signals in vivo, offering unprecedented access to study mechanotransduction during development. Examination of the mechanical control of cell fate during tissue morphogenesis will pave the way to an integrated understanding of the design principles that underlie robust tissue patterning in embryonic development.

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