Back and forth between cell fate specification and movement during vertebrate gastrulation

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2008 Aug;18(4):311-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2008.07.011. Epub 2008 Sep 4.


Animal body plan arises during gastrulation and organogenesis by the coordination of inductive events and cell movements. Several signaling pathways, such as BMP, FGF, Hedgehog, Nodal, and Wnt have well-recognized instructive roles in cell fate specification during vertebrate embryogenesis. Growing evidence indicates that BMP, Nodal, and FGF signaling also regulate cell movements, and that they do so through mechanisms distinct from those that specify cell fates. Moreover, pathways controlling cell movements can also indirectly influence cell fate specification by regulating dimensions and relative positions of interacting tissues. The current challenge is to delineate the molecular mechanisms via which the major signaling pathways regulate cell fate specification and movements, and how these two processes are coordinated to ensure normal development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / physiology*
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / physiology
  • Gastrula / cytology
  • Gastrula / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Nodal Protein / physiology
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology
  • Vertebrates / embryology
  • Wnt Proteins / physiology


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Nodal Protein
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors