Fluid flow dynamics in cellular patterning

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2021 Dec;120:3-9. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2021.07.004. Epub 2021 Jul 15.


The development of complex forms of multicellular organisms depends on the spatial arrangement of cellular architecture and functions. The interior design of the cell is patterned by spatially biased distributions of molecules and biochemical reactions in the cytoplasm and/or on the plasma membrane. In recent years, a dynamic change in the cytoplasmic fluid flow has emerged as a key physical process of driving long-range transport of molecules to particular destinations within the cell. Here, recent experimental advances in the understanding of the generation of the various types of cytoplasmic flows and contributions to intracellular patterning are reviewed with a particular focus on feedback mechanisms between the mechanical properties of fluid flow and biochemical signaling during animal cell polarization.

Keywords: Cell cortex; Cell migration; Cell polarity; Cytoplasm; Cytoskeleton; Embryo; Fluid flow; Neuroblast; Oocyte; Patterning.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Polarity / immunology*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction