PerspectiveDevelopmental Biology

Macrophage, a long-distance middleman

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Science  24 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6331, pp. 1258-1259
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam9743

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Macrophages were first identified in transparent starfish larvae (Astropecten pentacanthus) more than a century ago, so it is fitting that a new function for macrophages would again be discovered in transparent marine larvae, this time from zebra fish (Danio rerio). On page 1317 of this issue, Eom and Parichy (1) reveal a wholly unexpected tissue-specific function of macrophages—their cardinal role in long-distance communication between nonimmune cells. In doing so, macrophages choreograph the patterning of pigment cells that eventually form the stripes on zebrafish.