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Biochem Soc Symp. 1999;65:223-31.

Centrosomes, microtubules and cell migration.

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Adolf Butenandt Institut, Universität München, Germany.


Directed cell movement is an immensely complex process that depends on the co-operative interaction of numerous cellular components. Work over the past three decades has suggested that microtubules play an important role in the establishment and maintenance of the direction of cell migration. This chapter summarizes recent work from our laboratory designed to determine the roles of the microtubules and centrosome position relative to the direction of cell migration in a variety of cell types, and discusses these observations in the context of work from other laboratories. The results suggest that microtubules are required for stabilization of the direction of migration in many, but not all, cell types. For the centrosome to act as a stabilizer of cell migration requires that it is repositioned behind the leading edge. However, the process of repositioning does not precede the extension of a leading edge and the establishment of a new direction of cell migration. Rather, the centrosome follows the repositioning of the leading edge in response to other stimuli and, in doing so, stabilizes cell movement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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