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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2014 Oct;30:74-82. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2014 Jul 5.

Directed migration of mesenchymal cells: where signaling and the cytoskeleton meet.

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UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Lineberger Cancer Center and the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, United States; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UNC-Chapel Hill, United States. Electronic address:
North Carolina State University, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, United States. Electronic address:


Cell migration directed by spatial cues, or taxis, is a primary mechanism for orchestrating concerted and collective cell movements during development, wound repair, and immune responses. Compared with the classic example of amoeboid chemotaxis, in which fast-moving cells such as neutrophils are directed by gradients of soluble factors, directed migration of slow-moving mesenchymal cells such as fibroblasts is poorly understood. Mesenchymal cells possess a distinctive organization of the actin cytoskeleton and associated adhesion complexes as its primary mechanical system, generating the asymmetric forces required for locomotion without strong polarization. The emerging hypothesis is that the molecular underpinnings of mesenchymal taxis involve distinct signaling pathways and diverse requirements for regulation.

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