Morphogen gradient formation

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2009 Sep;1(3):a001255. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a001255.


How morphogen gradients are formed in target tissues is a key question for understanding the mechanisms of morphological patterning. Here, we review different mechanisms of morphogen gradient formation from theoretical and experimental points of view. First, a simple, comprehensive overview of the underlying biophysical principles of several mechanisms of gradient formation is provided. We then discuss the advantages and limitations of different experimental approaches to gradient formation analysis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / physiology*
  • Cell Biology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Developmental Biology
  • Diffusion
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Statistical
  • Morphogenesis / genetics*
  • Mutation


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins