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Trends Cell Biol. 2018 Jul;28(7):541-550. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2018.02.008. Epub 2018 Mar 28.

Coordination of Cell Polarity, Mechanics and Fate in Tissue Self-organization.

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EMBL Heidelberg, Meyerhofstraße 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany; Joint first authors.
EMBL Heidelberg, Meyerhofstraße 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address:


Self-organization guides robust, spatiotemporally ordered formation of complex tissues and ultimately whole organisms. While products of gene expression serve as building blocks of living matter, how these interact to give rise to tissues of distinct patterns and function remains a central question in biology. Tissue self-organization relies on dynamic interactions between constituents spanning a range of spatiotemporal scales with tuneable chemical and mechanical parameters. This review highlights recent studies dissecting mechanisms of these interactions. We propose that feedback interactions between cell polarity, mechanics, and fate are a key principle underlying tissue self-organization. We also provide a glimpse into how such processes can be studied in future endeavors.


cell fate specification; cell mechanics; cell polarity; self-organization

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