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Methods Mol Biol. 2011;769:1-24. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-207-6_1.

Cell migration: an overview.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA, USA.


Cell migration is a fundamental process that controls morphogenesis and inflammation. Its deregulation causes or is part of many diseases, including autoimmune syndromes, chronic inflammation, mental retardation, and cancer. Cell migration is an integral part of the cell biology, embryology, immunology, and neuroscience fields; as such, it has benefited from quantum leaps in molecular biology, biochemistry, and imaging techniques, and the emergence of the genomic and proteomic era. Combinations of these techniques have revealed new and exciting insights that explain how cells adhere and move, how the migration of multiple cells are coordinated and regulated, and how the cells interact with neighboring cells and/or react to changes in their microenvironment. This introduction provides a primer of the molecular and cellular insights, particularly the signaling networks, which control the migration of individual cells as well as collective migrations. The rest of the chapters are devoted to describe in detail some of the most salient technical advances that have illuminated the field of cell migration in recent years.

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