Branching morphogenesis is a fundamental developmental process which results in amplification of epithelial surface area for exchanging molecules in organs including the lung, kidney, mammary gland and salivary gland. These complex tree-like structures are built by iterative rounds of simple routines of epithelial morphogenesis, including bud formation, extension and bifurcation, that require constant remodeling of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and the cytoskeleton. In this review, we highlight the current understanding of the role of the ECM and cytoskeletal dynamics in branching morphogenesis across these different organs. The cellular and molecular mechanisms shared during this morphogenetic process provide insight into the development of other branching organs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Developmental Biology