Cell Biology

Making a Move

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Science  18 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5985, pp. 1457
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5985.1457-a

Hemocytes—macrophage- like cells found in insects—migrate from their birthplace in the head to distribute themselves throughout the whole organism. Stramer et al. examined this migration using high-resolution in vivo imaging of hemocytes expressing fluorescently tagged actin and tubulin. Dynamic rearrangements of the actin (green) and microtubule (red) cytoskeleton were observed as the cells migrated through the Drosophila embryo. In particular, during periods of persistent migration toward a wound, microtubules would form a bundle pointing toward the cell's destination within the forward-moving lamellae of the cell. Proteins known to play a role in directed migration in other systems were also required for hemocyte migration in vivo. If two migrating hemocytes met, after a brief pause during which the microtubule bundles appeared to align, the cells would repel each other, disassembling their microtubule bundles and then reassembling them to move away. This process of contact repulsion presumably helps to generate an even distribution of hemocytes.

J. Cell Biol. 189, 681 (2010).

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