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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2010 Dec;22(6):715-21. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Oct 13.

The nuts and bolts of germ-cell migration.

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Institute of Cell Biology, Center for Molecular Biology of Inflammation, Von-Esmarch-Str. 56, 48149, Münster University, 48147 Münster, Germany.


In many species, primordial germ cells (PGCs) migrate from the position where they are specified to the site where the gonad develops, where they differentiate into sperm and egg. Germ cells thus serve as an excellent model for studying cell migration in the context of the live organism. In recent years, a number of cues directing the migration of the cells towards their target were identified and some of the relevant molecules and biochemical pathways were revealed. In this review we present those results, focusing on 'cell mechanics' of the process including cell adhesion, traction generation and cell polarization.

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