Forces in tissue morphogenesis and patterning

Cell. 2013 May 23;153(5):948-62. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.05.008.


During development, mechanical forces cause changes in size, shape, number, position, and gene expression of cells. They are therefore integral to any morphogenetic processes. Force generation by actin-myosin networks and force transmission through adhesive complexes are two self-organizing phenomena driving tissue morphogenesis. Coordination and integration of forces by long-range force transmission and mechanosensing of cells within tissues produce large-scale tissue shape changes. Extrinsic mechanical forces also control tissue patterning by modulating cell fate specification and differentiation. Thus, the interplay between tissue mechanics and biochemical signaling orchestrates tissue morphogenesis and patterning in development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena*
  • Cell Shape
  • Morphogenesis*
  • Myosins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Actins
  • Myosins