Cell Biology

Follow the Leader

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  02 Jan 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5910, pp. 17
DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5910.17b

Cell migration is fundamental, being an integral part of human development and a driving force behind tissue repair. Many cells possess the ability to migrate directionally in response to environmental signals, a process known as chemotaxis. When starving, individual Dictyostelium discoideum cells aggregate in a head-to-tail fashion to form a migrating stream. This coordination is achieved by transmitting an amplified cAMP signal to neighboring cells. Adenylyl cyclase, the enzyme that makes cAMP, is concentrated at the rear of the cell and is required for this collective migration. Kriebel et al. discovered that cyclase is present in intracellular vesicles and that vesicular trafficking via actin and microtubule networks is required to generate its asymmetric distribution. Migrating cells were also found to shed cyclase-containing vesicles from the back of the cell. This directional release of vesicles could form extracellular tracks along which other cells follow, in what may prove a general mechanism for coordinated migration processes. — HP*

J. Cell Biol. 183, 949 (2008).

  • *Helen Pickersgill is a locum editor in Science's editorial department.

Navigate This Article