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Inaki, M., Vishnu, S., Cliffe, A., Rørth, P. (2012). Effective guidance of collective migration based on differences in cell states.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109(6): 2027--2032.
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Research paper

Directed cell migration is important for normal animal development and physiology. The process can also be subverted by tumor cells to invade other tissues and to metastasize. Some cells, such as leukocytes, migrate individually; other cells migrate together in groups or sheets, called collective cell migration. Guidance of individually migrating cells depends critically on subcellularly localized perception and transduction of signals. For collective cell migration, guidance could result from cells within a group achieving different signaling levels, with directionality then encoded in the collective rather than in individual cells. Here we subject this collective guidance hypothesis to direct tests, using migration of border cells during Drosophila oogenesis as our model system. These cells normally use two receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), PDGF/VEGF-related receptor (PVR) and EGFR, to read guidance cues secreted by the oocyte. Elevated but delocalized RTK signaling in one cell of the cluster was achieved by overexpression of PVR in the absence of ligand or by overexpression of fusion receptors unable to detect Drosophila ligands; alternatively, Rac was photoactivated centrally within a single cell. In each case, one cell within the group was in a high signal state, whereas others were in low signal states. The high signal cell directed cluster movement effectively. We conclude that differences in cell signaling states are sufficient to direct collective migration and are likely a substantial contributor to normal guidance. Cell signaling states could manifest as differences in gene expression or metabolite levels and thus differ substantially from factors normally considered when analyzing eukaryotic cell guidance.

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PMC3277546 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
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