Candidate Review:

Structural Basis of Adhesion during Gastrulation and Brain Morphogenesis

Xin Li*, Heidi E. Hamm¤ and Lila Solnica-Krezel§

*Neuroscience Graduate Program, Vanderbilt University Medical School, U1205 Medical Center North, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.
¤Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.
§Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA.
Correspondence to X.L. e-mail:

Abstract | Full Text | PDF

ABSTRACT | Morphogenesis, shape creation, is one of the central questions in developmental biology. It transforms a cluster of nearly identical cells in a blastula into a complex entity with structured tissues and organs. This transformation starts with gastrulation and reaches its highest complexity during brain morphogenesis. Molecular mechanisms driving morphogenesis have received great attention and cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) have been brought to the center of the stage. Here we review the structural basis of the functions of CAMs, highlighting their roles in gastrulation and brain morphogenesis. We also speculate the involvement of additional molecules such as adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (adhesion GPCRs) as novel CAMs in morphogenesis.