Extracellular matrix motion and early morphogenesis

Rajprasad Loganathan, Brenda J. Rongish, Christopher M. Smith, Michael B. Filla, Andras Czirok, Bertrand Bénazéraf, Charles D. Little

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


For over a century, embryologists who studied cellular motion in early amniotes generally assumed that morphogenetic movement reflected migration relative to a static extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffold. However, as we discuss in this Review, recent investigations reveal that the ECM is also moving during morphogenesis. Time-lapse studies show how convective tissue displacement patterns, as visualized by ECM markers, contribute to morphogenesis and organogenesis. Computational image analysis distinguishes between cell-autonomous (active) displacements and convection caused by large-scale (composite) tissue movements. Modern quantification of large-scale ‘total’ cellular motion and the accompanying ECM motion in the embryo demonstrates that a dynamic ECM is required for generation of the emergent motion patterns that drive amniote morphogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2056-2065
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2016


  • Amniote morphogenesis
  • Emergent patterns
  • Extracellular matrix dynamics
  • Tissue-scale motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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