Attraction or Repulsion: A Matter of Individual Taste?

Science's STKE  05 Oct 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 253, pp. pe47
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2532004pe47

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Cell migration along the correct paths is critical to normal organogenesis and tissue repair, and goes awry in tumor dissemination. Understanding the molecular cues that control such migration would provide opportunities to control these events. Recent findings in Drosophila highlight the role of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in chemotaxis and pathfinding during development. These studies, and others performed in vertebrates, support a central role for EGFR-mediated chemotaxis. However, the signal or signals that then enable cells to further migrate independently of this chemotactic effect are not known. Three possible scenarios are discussed: that EGFR signaling sensitizes cells to new cues, that EGFR signaling is altered so that the cell responds predominantly to other motility signals that are now "unblinded," and that EGFR signaling still provides the motile signal but in a chemokinetic manner with matrix components providing the directionality. There are precedents for all three scenarios, but which one proves true will define the window of opportunity for regulating cell migration.

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