Regulatory phases of early liver development: paradigms of organogenesis

Nat Rev Genet. 2002 Jul;3(7):499-512. doi: 10.1038/nrg837.


Genetic analysis, embryonic tissue explantation and in vivo chromatin studies have together identified the distinct regulatory steps that are necessary for the development of endoderm into a bud of liver tissue and, subsequently, into an organ. In this review, I discuss the acquisition of competence to express liver-specific genes by the endoderm, the control of early hepatic growth, the coordination of hepatic and vascular development and the cell differentiation that is necessary to generate a functioning liver. The regulatory mechanisms that underlie these phases are common to the development of many organ systems and might be recapitulated or disrupted during stem-cell differentiation and adult tissue pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Ectoderm / physiology
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Endoderm / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Liver / embryology*