Lineage specification in the mouse preimplantation embryo

Development. 2016 Apr 1;143(7):1063-74. doi: 10.1242/dev.128314.


During mouse preimplantation embryo development, totipotent blastomeres generate the first three cell lineages of the embryo: trophectoderm, epiblast and primitive endoderm. In recent years, studies have shown that this process appears to be regulated by differences in cell-cell interactions, gene expression and the microenvironment of individual cells, rather than the active partitioning of maternal determinants. Precisely how these differences first emerge and how they dictate subsequent molecular and cellular behaviours are key questions in the field. As we review here, recent advances in live imaging, computational modelling and single-cell transcriptome analyses are providing new insights into these questions.

Keywords: Cell heterogeneity; Lineage differentiation; Morphogenesis; Mouse; Preimplantation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastocyst / cytology*
  • Blastocyst / physiology
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Lineage / physiology*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / embryology*
  • Embryonic Development / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Mice
  • Models, Animal
  • Morphogenesis / physiology*