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Dev Biol. 2003 Aug 1;260(1):1-8.

Signaling systems, guided cell migration, and organogenesis: insights from genetic studies in Drosophila.

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Biozentrum der Universit├Ąt Basel, Department of Cell Biology, Klingelbergstrasse 70, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.


During development, cells change their position extensively. Although the basic cellular mechanisms involved in cell locomotion have been studied mostly in cultured cells, genetic and molecular approaches using model organisms are starting to shed light on the complex events influencing cell migration during development. Recent technical advances in following and analyzing migrating cells inside the living embryo offer the possibility of understanding how different signaling systems regulate the fundamental cellular processes underlying guided cell migration in vivo. In Drosophila melanogaster, studies of migrating cells have concentrated mainly on hemocytes, germ cells, border cells, and tracheal cells. Interestingly, most of these cells were recently shown to make different cellular extensions and to use receptor tyrosine kinases to sense the chemoattractive signal. This review describes our current understanding of how different signaling networks control guided migration in these four systems and discusses the impact of novel imaging techniques on the study of guided cell migration during development.

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