Coordination of Morphogenesis and Cell-Fate Specification in Development

Curr Biol. 2017 Sep 25;27(18):R1024-R1035. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.07.010.


During animal development, cell-fate-specific changes in gene expression can modify the material properties of a tissue and drive tissue morphogenesis. While mechanistic insights into the genetic control of tissue-shaping events are beginning to emerge, how tissue morphogenesis and mechanics can reciprocally impact cell-fate specification remains relatively unexplored. Here we review recent findings reporting how multicellular morphogenetic events and their underlying mechanical forces can feed back into gene regulatory pathways to specify cell fate. We further discuss emerging techniques that allow for the direct measurement and manipulation of mechanical signals in vivo, offering unprecedented access to study mechanotransduction during development. Examination of the mechanical control of cell fate during tissue morphogenesis will pave the way to an integrated understanding of the design principles that underlie robust tissue patterning in embryonic development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Morphogenesis*