Building the mouse gastrula: signals, asymmetry and lineages

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2006 Aug;16(4):419-25. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2006.06.008. Epub 2006 Jun 21.


The mouse embryo is built by assembling the progenitors of various tissue types into a body plan. Early postimplantation development involves the establishment of anatomical asymmetries and regionalized gene expression in the conceptus, the specification of tissue lineages, and the coordination of cell movement for correct positioning of the lineage progenitors before and at gastrulation. Recent findings reveal that Wnt and Tgfbeta signalling function is instrumental in delineating the anterior-posterior embryonic axis by defining the site of primitive streak formation and by directing the movement of the visceral endoderm. These signalling activities are also required for the specification of anterior and posterior fates of the epiblast cells and for the induction and navigation of the primordial germ cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activins / physiology
  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / physiology*
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Movement
  • Endoderm / cytology
  • Endoderm / physiology
  • Gastrula / physiology*
  • Germ Cells / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Mice
  • Nodal Protein
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology
  • Wnt Proteins / physiology


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nodal Protein
  • Nodal protein, mouse
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Wnt Proteins
  • fragilis protein, mouse
  • Activins