Chemotactic cell movement during Dictyostelium development and gastrulation

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2006 Aug;16(4):367-73. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2006.06.003. Epub 2006 Jun 19.


Many developmental processes involve chemotactic cell movement up or down dynamic chemical gradients. Studies of the molecular mechanisms of chemotactic movement of Dictyostelium amoebae up cAMP gradients highlight the importance of PIP3 signaling in the control of cAMP-dependent actin polymerization, which drives the protrusion of lamellipodia and filopodia at the leading edge of the cell, but also emphasize the need for myosin thick filament assembly and motor activation for the contraction of the back of the cell. These process become even more important during the multicellular stages of development, when propagating waves of cAMP coordinate the chemotactic movement of tens of thousands of cells, resulting in multicellular morphogenesis. Recent experiments show that chemotaxis, especially in response to members of the FGF, PDGF and VEGF families of growth factors, plays a key role in the guidance of mesoderm cells during gastrulation in chick, mouse and frog embryos. The molecular mechanisms of signal detection and signaling to the actin-myosin cytoskeleton remain to be elucidated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemotaxis*
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology
  • Dictyostelium / growth & development*
  • Gastrula / cytology
  • Gastrula / physiology*
  • Growth Substances / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vertebrates / embryology*


  • Growth Substances
  • Cyclic AMP