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Science 292 (5517): 737-740

Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Switching Repulsion to Attraction: Changing Responses to Slit During Transition in Mesoderm Migration

Sunita G. Kramer, Thomas Kidd,* Julie H. Simpson, Corey S. Goodmandagger

Slit is secreted by cells at the midline of the central nervous system, where it binds to Roundabout (Robo) receptors and functions as a potent repellent. We found that migrating mesodermal cells in vivo respond to Slit as both an attractant and a repellent and that Robo receptors are required for both functions. Mesoderm cells expressing Robo receptors initially migrate away from Slit at the midline. A few hours after migration, these same cells change their behavior and require Robo to extend toward Slit-expressing muscle attachment sites. Thus, Slit functions as a chemoattractant to provide specificity for muscle patterning.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, 519 Life Sciences Addition, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
*   Present address: Exelixis, 170 Harbor Way, Post Office Box 511, South San Francisco, CA 94083-0511, USA.

dagger    To whom correspondence should be addressed.

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