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Traffic. 2002 Feb;3(2):98-109.

Morphogen gradient formation and vesicular trafficking.

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Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Pfotenhauerstr. 108, D-01307 Dresden, Germany.


Morphogens are secreted signaling molecules which form spatial concentration gradients while moving away from a restricted source of production. A simple model of gradient formation postulates that the morphogens dilute as they diffuse between cells. In this review we discuss recent data supporting the idea that movement of the morphogen could also occur via vesicular trafficking through the cells. We explore the implications of these results for the control of gradient formation and the determination of the gradient slope which ultimately encodes the coordinates of positional information.

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