Multiscale morphogenesis of the mouse blastocyst by actomyosin contractility

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2020 Oct:66:123-129. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2020 Jul 22.


During preimplantation development, the mouse embryo forms the blastocyst, which consists of a squamous epithelium enveloping a fluid-filled lumen and a cluster of pluripotent cells. The shaping of the blastocyst into its specific architecture is a prerequisite to implantation and further development of the embryo. Recent studies identified the central role of the actomyosin cortex in generating the forces driving the successive steps of blastocyst morphogenesis. As seen in other developing animals, actomyosin functions across spatial scales from the subcellular to the tissue levels. In addition, the slow development of the mouse embryo reveals that actomyosin contractility operates at multiple timescales with periodic cortical waves of contraction every ∼80 s and tissue remodeling over hours.

Keywords: Actomyosin contractility; Early mammalian development; Tissue mechanics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton
  • Actomyosin / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Blastocyst / cytology*
  • Embryonic Development
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Morphogenesis*


  • Actomyosin