Building and Regenerating the Lung Cell by Cell

Physiol Rev. 2019 Jan 1;99(1):513-554. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00001.2018.


The unique architecture of the mammalian lung is required for adaptation to air breathing at birth and thereafter. Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling its morphogenesis provides the framework for understanding the pathogenesis of acute and chronic lung diseases. Recent single-cell RNA sequencing data and high-resolution imaging identify the remarkable heterogeneity of pulmonary cell types and provides cell selective gene expression underlying lung development. We will address fundamental issues related to the diversity of pulmonary cells, to the formation and function of the mammalian lung, and will review recent advances regarding the cellular and molecular pathways involved in lung organogenesis. What cells form the lung in the early embryo? How are cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation regulated during lung morphogenesis? How do cells interact during lung formation and repair? How do signaling and transcriptional programs determine cell-cell interactions necessary for lung morphogenesis and function?

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Embryonic Development / genetics
  • Embryonic Development / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Lung / cytology*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Morphogenesis / genetics
  • Morphogenesis / physiology*