Developmental regulation of cell migration. Insight from a genetic approach in Drosophila

Cell Biochem Biophys. 1999;31(3):219-29. doi: 10.1007/BF02738240.


Cell movements are fascinating and dramatic features of normal animal development. Moreover, failures in cell migration can lead to birth defects, and inappropriate cell migration can lead to cancer metastasis. Genetic approaches are beginning to provide some insights into the molecular basis for the developmental regulation of cell migration. This review discusses the progress that has been made in understanding the regulation of cell migration during Drosophila development, using a molecular genetic approach. In particular, these studies have implicated signaling through a receptor tyrosine kinase in the spatial control of migration. Reorganization of the cytoskeleton, under the control of the guanosine triphosphatase, Rac, is also critical for cell migration. Finally, genetic studies have demonstrated that the timing of cell migration is under transcriptional control.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Female
  • Myosins / physiology
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Ovary / physiology
  • Ovum / cytology
  • Ovum / physiology
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Myosins