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J Cell Biol. 2013 Sep 2;202(5):725-34. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201305021.

Cell biology in neuroscience: mechanisms of cell migration in the nervous system.

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  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


Many neurons resemble other cells in developing embryos in migrating long distances before they differentiate. However, despite shared basic machinery, neurons differ from other migrating cells. Most dramatically, migrating neurons have a long and dynamic leading process, and may extend an axon from the rear while they migrate. Neurons must coordinate the extension and branching of their leading processes, cell movement with axon specification and extension, switching between actin and microtubule motors, and attachment and recycling of diverse adhesion proteins. New research is needed to fully understand how migration of such morphologically complicated cells is coordinated over space and time.

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