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Annu Rev Biophys. 2010;39:265-89. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biophys.093008.131228.

Eukaryotic chemotaxis: a network of signaling pathways controls motility, directional sensing, and polarity.

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1
Department of Cell Biology, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.

Abstract

Chemotaxis, the directed migration of cells in chemical gradients, is a vital process in normal physiology and in the pathogenesis of many diseases. Chemotactic cells display motility, directional sensing, and polarity. Motility refers to the random extension of pseudopodia, which may be driven by spontaneous actin waves that propagate through the cytoskeleton. Directional sensing is mediated by a system that detects temporal and spatial stimuli and biases motility toward the gradient. Polarity gives cells morphologically and functionally distinct leading and lagging edges by relocating proteins or their activities selectively to the poles. By exploiting the genetic advantages of Dictyostelium, investigators are working out the complex network of interactions between the proteins that have been implicated in the chemotactic processes of motility, directional sensing, and polarity.

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