Developing pressures: fluid forces driving morphogenesis.
Over several decades genetic studies have unraveled many molecular mechanisms that underlie the signaling networks guiding morphogenesis, but the mechanical forces at work remain much less well understood. Accumulation of fluid within a luminal space can generate outward hydrostatic pressure capable of shaping morphogenesis at several scales, ranging from individual organs to the entire vertebrate body-plan. Here, we focus on recent work that uncovered mechanical roles for fluid secretion during morphogenesis. Identifying the roles and regulation of fluid secretion will be instrumental for understanding the mechanics of morphogenesis as well as many human diseases of complex genetic and environmental origin including secretory diarrheas and scoliosis.
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