ReportCell Signaling

A macrophage relay for long-distance signaling during postembryonic tissue remodeling

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Science  16 Feb 2017:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal2745

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Macrophages have diverse functions in immunity as well as development and homeostasis. Here we identify a function for these cells in long distance communication during postembryonic tissue remodeling. Ablation of macrophages in zebrafish prevented melanophores from coalescing into adult pigment stripes. Melanophore organization depends on signals provided by cells of the yellow xanthophore lineage via airinemes, long filamentous projections with vesicles at their tips. We show that airineme extension from originating cells, and vesicle deposition on target cells, depend on interactions with macrophages. These findings identify a role for macrophages in relaying long range signals between nonimmune cells. It will be interesting to see if this signaling modality functions in the remodeling and homeostasis of other tissues during normal development and disease.

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