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An ABC Transporter Controls Export of a Drosophila Germ Cell Attractant

Science  13 Feb 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5916, pp. 943-946
DOI: 10.1126/science.1166239

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Abstract

Directed cell migration, which is critical for embryonic development, leukocyte trafficking, and cell metastasis, depends on chemoattraction. 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase regulates the production of an attractant for Drosophila germ cells that may itself be geranylated. Chemoattractants are commonly secreted through a classical, signal peptide–dependent pathway, but a geranyl-modified attractant would require an alternative pathway. In budding yeast, pheromones produced by a-cells are farnesylated and secreted in a signal peptide–independent manner, requiring the adenosine triphosphate–binding cassette (ABC) transporter Ste6p. Here we show that Drosophila germ cell migration uses a similar pathway, demonstrating that invertebrate germ cells, like yeast cells, are attracted to lipid-modified peptides. Components of this unconventional export pathway are highly conserved, suggesting that this pathway may control the production of similarly modified chemoattractants in organisms ranging from yeast to humans.

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