Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Academic Editor: David Capco
The cytoskeleton of the mammalian egg and early embryo is highly unique when compared to the cytoskeleton of their somatic cell brethren. Although all three cytoskeletal systems, actin filaments, microtubules, and intermediate filaments, are present as early as the unfertilized egg; each system has adapted features that allow the egg and early embryo to meet the strict demands of the developmental process. The major demands placed upon eggs and embryos are developmental transitions (i.e., fertilization, compaction, blastocyst formation, germ layer formation and gastrulation), each of which must be traversed in order for the embryo to form a new individual. To successfully complete all of the necessary processes during early development, eggs and embryos must call upon many signal transduction mechanisms, cytoskeletal components, and genes that are both unique to embryogenesis and ubiquitous among many types of somatic cells. It is the goal of this review to provide some current details into the mechanisms that drive early development primarily focusing on the cytoskeletal components eggs and embryos have adapted to promote embryogenesis.