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The elaboration of anterior-posterior (A-P) pattern is one of the earliest events during development and requires the precisely coordinated action of several players at the level of molecules, cells and tissues. In mammals, it is controlled by a specialized population of migratory extraembryonic epithelial cells, the anterior visceral endoderm (AVE). The AVE is a signalling centre that is responsible for several important patterning events during early development, including specifying the orientation of the A-P axis and the position of the heart with respect to the brain. AVE cells undergo a characteristic stereotypical migration which is crucial to their functions.

Original publication




Journal article


Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci

Publication Date





anterior visceral endoderm, cell migration, embryonic patterning, epithelial cell movement, Animals, Body Patterning, Cell Differentiation, Cell Movement, Embryo, Mammalian, Endoderm, Mice, Models, Biological, Signal Transduction