Combinatorial signaling in development

Bioessays. 1994 Aug;16(8):577-81. doi: 10.1002/bies.950160811.


Intercellular signaling plays a major role in the development of vertebrate and invertebrate embryos. In several cases, including the induction of mesoderm and neural ectoderm induction in Xenopus and the induction of the vulva in C. elegans, multiple intercellular signals are utilized. This review examines a number of examples of signaling in development wherein two signals combine to affect the fate of a cell. The examples are placed in distinct categories, based on whether the signals synergize with or antagonize one another, and on the inductive potential of the individual signals. These types of combinatorial signaling events are suggested to be a general feature of embryonic development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Embryonic Induction*
  • Mesoderm / cytology
  • Models, Biological
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology*