Mesoderm layer formation in Xenopus and Drosophila gastrulation

Rudolf Winklbauer, H-Arno J. Muller

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    During gastrulation, the mesoderm spreads out between ectoderm and endoderm to form a mesenchymal cell layer. Surprisingly the underlying principles of mesoderm layer formation are very similar in evolutionarily distant species like the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and the frog, Xenopus laevis, in which the molecular and the cellular basis of mesoderm layer formation have been extensively studied. Complementary expression of growth factors in the ectoderm and their receptors in the mesoderm act to orient cellular protrusive activities and direct cell movement, leading to radial cell intercalation and the spreading of the mesoderm layer. This mechanism is contrasted with generic physical mechanisms of tissue spreading that consider the adhesive and physical properties of the cells and tissues. Both mechanisms need to be integrated to orchestrate mesenchymal morphogenesis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number045001
    Pages (from-to)-
    Number of pages7
    JournalPhysical Biology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


    • Tissue surface tension
    • Cell shape changes
    • Quantitative differences
    • Amphibian gastrulation
    • Cultured explants
    • Embryonic tissues
    • Migration
    • Adhesion
    • Laevis
    • PDGF


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