Research ArticleCell Migration

A large-scale screen reveals genes that mediate electrotaxis in Dictyostelium discoideum

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Sci. Signal.  26 May 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 378, pp. ra50
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aab0562

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Moving to that electric feel

Cell movement can be guided by chemical gradients (chemotaxis) or by electrical fields (electrotaxis), both of which contribute to wound healing. Whereas the mechanisms that control chemotaxis are well characterized, those controlling electrotaxis are not. To identify genes required for electrotaxis in the slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum, a model organism that has been used in chemotaxis studies, Gao et al. developed a high-throughput screening method of analyzing electrotaxis in genetically modified Dictyostelium strains. Without components of the TORC2 pathway, a pathway involved in chemotaxis, these single-celled organisms had defective electrotaxis. This study sets the stage for identifying signaling pathways that are unique to each type of movement and those that are shared.