Recent studies in two invertebrate systems, border cells in Drosophila melanogaster and distal tip cells in Caenorhabditis elegans, have provided important insight into the mechanisms of directed cell migration. These migrating cells are guided by extracellular signals, such as EGF, TGF-beta and netrin. In addition, metalloproteases alter the extracellular matrix of the tissue through which these cells migrate. Along the migratory path, migrating cells respond to changes in guidance signals by altering the expression of receptor signaling pathways. Finally, Dock180, CrkII and the GTPase Rac link the extracellular signals to the cellular machinery that controls cell motility.