How cells change shape and position in the early mammalian embryo

Melanie D. White, Jennifer Zenker, Stephanie Bissiere, Nicolas Plachta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


During preimplantation development, cells of the mammalian embryo must resolve their shape and position to ensure the future viability of the fetus. These initial changes are established as the embryo expands from one to thirty-two cells, and a group of originally spherical cells is transformed into a more polarized structure with distinct cell geometries and lineages. Recent advances in the application of non-invasive imaging technologies have enabled the discovery of mechanisms regulating patterning of the early mammalian embryo. Here, we review recent findings revealing cell protrusions that trigger early changes in cell shape and embryo compaction, and how anisotropies in mechanical forces drive the first spatial segregation of cells in the embryo to form the pluripotent inner mass.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28033492
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Cell Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes

Cite this