Molecular mechanisms of vertebrate left-right development

Trends Genet. 1998 Nov;14(11):459-65. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(98)01599-6.


Patterning of all tissues and organs in the vertebrate embryo occurs along the dorsoventral (DV), anteroposterior (AP), and left-right (LR) body axes. Whereas significant progress has been made in identifying the processes underlying DV and AP patterning, relatively little is known about mechanisms guiding LR development. The significant incidence of human disease conditions associated with LR laterality defects, particularly those of the cardiovascular system, underscores the importance of understanding how LR asymmetries become established in the embryo. The focus of this review is on recently identified genes that are involved in generation of vertebrate LR asymmetry, and the proposed cellular and molecular mechanisms by which they might function in initiation, propagation and interpretation of LR patterning information.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / genetics*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Mesoderm
  • Vertebrates / physiology*
  • Xenopus / embryology