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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Sep 2;94(18):9674-8.

Centrosome positioning and directionality of cell movements.

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Adolf Butenandt Institute, Cell Biology, University of Munich, Munich, Germany.


In several cell types, an intriguing correlation exists between the position of the centrosome and the direction of cell movement: the centrosome is located behind the leading edge, suggesting that it serves as a steering device for directional movement. A logical extension of this suggestion is that a change in the direction of cell movement is preceded by a reorientation, or shift, of the centrosome in the intended direction of movement. We have used a fusion protein of green fluorescent protein (GFP) and gamma-tubulin to label the centrosome in migrating amoebae of Dictyostelium discoideum, allowing us to determine the relationship of centrosome positioning and the direction of cell movement with high spatial and temporal resolution in living cells. We find that the extension of a new pseudopod in a migrating cell precedes centrosome repositioning. An average of 12 sec elapses between the initiation of pseudopod extension and reorientation of the centrosome. If no reorientation occurs within approximately 30 sec, the pseudopod is retracted. Thus the centrosome does not direct a cell's migration. However, its repositioning stabilizes a chosen direction of movement, most probably by means of the microtubule system.

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