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From morphogen to morphogenesis and back

Abstract

A long-term aim of the life sciences is to understand how organismal shape is encoded by the genome. An important challenge is to identify mechanistic links between the genes that control cell-fate decisions and the cellular machines that generate shape, therefore closing the gap between genotype and phenotype. The logic and mechanisms that integrate these different levels of shape control are beginning to be described, and recently discovered mechanisms of cross-talk and feedback are beginning to explain the remarkable robustness of organ assembly. The 'full-circle' understanding of morphogenesis that is emerging, besides solving a key puzzle in biology, provides a mechanistic framework for future approaches to tissue engineering.

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Figure 1: From patterning to morphogenesis in the Drosophila blastoderm.
Figure 2: Cellular regulation of apical constriction and cell intercalation.
Figure 3: Morphogenetic feedback mechanisms.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to S. De Renzis, F. Peri and the Gilmour and Leptin groups for discussions. We thank C. Böckel, S. Durdu, A. Shyer and T. Hiiragi for help with Fig. 3.

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Gilmour, D., Rembold, M. & Leptin, M. From morphogen to morphogenesis and back. Nature 541, 311–320 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature21348

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