Editors' ChoiceDevelopment

Swords or Plowshares

Science's STKE  28 Sep 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 252, pp. tw347
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2522004tw347

In metazoa, germ cells and gonadal somatic cells often form separately, and the two cell types must come together through cell migration. Extracellular lipid phosphates have been implicated in the migration of germ cells. The lipid phosphate phosphohydrolases Wunen and Wunen2 are expressed in the soma of the Drosophila embryo and repel migrating germ cells. Renault et al. now show that Wunen2 also plays a complementary role within the germ cells: Wunen2 prevents germ cell death and allows for their proper migration. Somatic cells and germ cells compete for the same lipid substrate such that hydrolysis and uptake of the lipid in the soma provides a repellent effect but mediates cell survival and migration in germ cells.

A. D. Renault, Y. J. Sigal, A. J. Morris, R. Lehmann, Soma-germ line competition for lipid phosphate uptake regulates germ cell migration and survival. Science 305, 1963-1966 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]