Zebrafish gastrulation: cell movements, signals, and mechanisms

Int Rev Cytol. 2007;261:159-92. doi: 10.1016/S0074-7696(07)61004-3.


Gastrulation is a morphogenetic process that results in the formation of the embryonic germ layers. Here we detail the major cell movements that occur during zebrafish gastrulation: epiboly, internalization, and convergent extension. Although gastrulation is known to be regulated by signaling pathways such as the Wnt/planar cell polarity pathway, many questions remain about the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms. Key factors that may play a role in gastrulation cell movements are cell adhesion and cytoskeletal rearrangement. In addition, some of the driving force for gastrulation may derive from tissue interactions such as those described between the enveloping layer and the yolk syncytial layer. Future exploration of gastrulation mechanisms relies on the development of sensitive and quantitative techniques to characterize embryonic germ-layer properties.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Gastrula / physiology
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / physiology


  • Wnt Proteins