Dorsal closure is a key process during morphogenesis that models cell sheet movements in chordates, including neural tube closure, palate formation, and wound healing. Closure occurs midway through embryogenesis and entails circumferential elongation of lateral epidermal cell sheets that close a dorsal hole filled with amnioserosa cells. Signaling pathways regulate the function of cellular structures and processes, including Actomyosin and microtubule cytoskeletons, cell-cell/cell-matrix adhesion complexes, and endocytosis/vesicle trafficking. These orchestrate complex shape changes and movements that entail interactions between five distinct cell types. Genetic and laser perturbation studies establish that closure is robust, resilient, and the consequence of redundancy that contributes to four distinct biophysical processes: contraction of the amnioserosa, contraction of supracellular Actomyosin cables, elongation (stretching?) of the lateral epidermis, and zipping together of two converging cell sheets. What triggers closure and what the emergent properties are that give rise to its extraordinary resilience and fidelity remain key, extant questions.


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