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Dev Biol. 2000 Nov 1;227(1):80-90.

The alternative migratory pathways of the Drosophila tracheal cells are associated with distinct subsets of mesodermal cells.

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Institut de Biologia Molecular de Barcelona, C/ Jordi Girona 18-26, Barcelona, 08034, Spain.


The Drosophila tracheal system is a model for the study of the mechanisms that guide cell migration. The general conclusion from many studies is that migration of tracheal cells relies on directional cues provided by nearby cells. However, very little is known about which paths are followed by the migrating tracheal cells and what kind of interactions they establish to move in the appropriate direction. Here we analyze how tracheal cells migrate relative to their surroundings and which tissues participate in tracheal cell migration. We find that cells in different branches exploit different strategies for their migration; while some migrate through preexisting grooves, others make their way through homogeneous cell populations. We also find that alternative migratory pathways of tracheal cells are associated with distinct subsets of mesodermal cells and propose a model for the allocation of groups of tracheal cells to different branches. These results show how adjacent tissues influence morphogenesis of the tracheal system and offer a model for understanding how organ formation is determined by its genetic program and by the surrounding topological constraints.

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