Developmental Pattern Formation in Phases

Trends Cell Biol. 2015 Oct;25(10):579-591. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2015.07.006.


Cells in developing organs undergo a series of changes in their transcriptional state until a complete repertoire of cell types is specified. These changes in cell identity, together with the control of tissue growth, determine the pattern of gene expression in the tissue. Recent studies explore the dynamics of pattern formation during development and provide new insights into the control mechanisms. Changes in morphogen signalling and transcriptional networks control the specification of cell types. This is often followed by a distinct second phase, where pattern is elaborated by tissue growth. Here, we discuss the transitions between distinct phases in pattern formation. We consider the implications of the underlying mechanisms for understanding how reproducible patterns form during development.

Keywords: morphogen patterning; neural tube; tissue growth; tissue size scaling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / genetics*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Lineage / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Mice
  • Neural Tube / growth & development*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Signal Transduction
  • Spinal Cord / growth & development