On the convergent cell movements of gastrulation in Fundulus

J Exp Zool. 1992 Jan 1;261(1):40-61. doi: 10.1002/jez.1402610107.


Mainly because of its transparency, the Fundulus gastrula constitutes ideal material for direct study of morphogenetic cell movements in vivo. Marking studies show that deep cells of the germ ring converge toward and enter the embryonic shield, where they undergo extension. Those close to the shield move faster. Analysis of videotapes reveals that all deep cells of the dorsal germ ring move toward the shield. But none moves in a direct line. All meander considerably. Germ ring cells nearer the shield move toward it at a higher net rate than those farther away because they meander less. This suggests that exogenous factors promote their directionality. Cells in the prospective yolk sac adjacent to the germ ring also show net convergence, but they meander more. Directional forces are apparently stronger in the germ ring. Converging deep cells move both by filolamellipodia and, less frequently, by blebs. However, there is very little individual cell movement; all cells are almost always in adhesive contact with other cells in moving cell clusters. Clusters vary constantly in size, continually aggregating with other cells and other clusters and splitting. Filolamellipodial cells show contact inhibition of cell movement. Nevertheless, they move and do so directionally, presumably in part because, as members of cell clusters, much of their movement is passive. They also show intercalation or invasive activity, but, consistent with their contact-inhibiting properties, only when neighboring cells separate and provide free space. Cells moving by blebbing locomotion are non-contact inhibiting and intercalate readily. Cell division continues during convergence. Although this temporarily arrests their movement, the daughter cells soon join in the mass convergent movement.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Movement
  • Gastrula / cytology*
  • Killifishes
  • Photomicrography
  • Videotape Recording
  • Yolk Sac / cytology


  • Carbon