Nodal cilia dynamics and the specification of the left/right axis in early vertebrate embryo development

Javier Buceta*, Marta Ibañes, Diego Rasskin-Gutman, Yasushi Okada, Nobutaka Hirokawa, Juan Carlos Izpisúa-Belmonte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Nodal cilia dynamics is a key factor for left/right axis determination in mouse embryos through the induction of a leftward fluid flow. So far it has not been clearly established how such dynamics is able to induce the asymmetric leftward flow within the node. Herein we propose that an asymmetric two-phase nonplanar beating cilia dynamics that involves the bending of the ciliar axoneme is responsible for the leftward fluid flow. We support our proposal with a host of hydrodynamic arguments, in silico experiments and in vivo video microscopy data in wild-type embryos and inv mutants. Our phenomenological modeling approach underscores how the asymmetry and speed of the flow depends on different relevant parameters. In addition, we discuss how the combination of internal and external mechanisms might cause the two-phase beating cilia dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2199-2209
Number of pages11
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
J.B. acknowledges support by the La Jolla Interfaces in Science Interdisciplinary Program funded through the generosity of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. M.I. acknowledges support by the Fulbright Program and Generalitat of Catalunya. This work was supported by grants from the Human Frontier Science Program, the National Institutes of Health, the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation, the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Foundation, and by a Center of Excellence Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (N.H.).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


Dive into the research topics of 'Nodal cilia dynamics and the specification of the left/right axis in early vertebrate embryo development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this