Morphogenesis of the polarized epithelial cell phenotype

Science. 1989 Aug 18;245(4919):718-25. doi: 10.1126/science.2672330.


Polarized epithelial cells play fundamental roles in the ontogeny and function of a variety of tissues and organs in mammals. The morphogenesis of a sheet of polarized epithelial cells (the trophectoderm) is the first overt sign of cellular differentiation in early embryonic development. In the adult, polarized epithelial cells line all body cavities and occur in tissues that carry out specialized vectorial transport functions of absorption and secretion. The generation of this phenotype is a multistage process requiring extracellular cues and the reorganization of proteins in the cytoplasm and on the plasma membrane; once established, the phenotype is maintained by the segregation and retention of specific proteins and lipids in distinct apical and basal-lateral plasma membrane domains.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / physiology*
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Membrane Lipids / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Morphogenesis
  • Organelles / physiology
  • Phenotype*


  • Membrane Lipids
  • Membrane Proteins