Woolly Sailors

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Science  21 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5538, pp. 2171
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5538.2171b

Gradients of morphogens are important in development and in tissue patterning. Although diffusion might suffice for the dispersal of soluble molecules, some morphogens adhere to membranes and to the extracellular matrix.

Greco et al. have used Drosophila embryos to examine how the gradient of one such membrane-associated morphogen, Wingless, might be established. This protein appears to be released from cells that are located in the imaginal disc epithelium, via the budding of membrane vesicles, called argosomes. These vesicles, which contain Wingless and other membrane constituents (labeled with green fluorescent protein), appear to be derived from the basolateral regions, and can be observed to depart from one cell and to travel into surrounding areas, possibly by means of transendocytosis. How these tiny membrane carriers navigate the extracellular and intracellular byways before arriving at their destinations will be of interest. — SMH

Cell106, 633 (2001).

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