Cell motility (i.e., movement) is an essential component of normal development, inflammation, tissue repair, angiogenesis, and tumor invasion. Various molecules can affect the motility and positioning of mammalian cells, including peptide growth factors, (e.g., EGF, PDGF, TGF-beta), substrate-adhesion molecules (e.g., fibronectin, laminin), cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), and metalloproteinases. Recent studies have demonstrated a group of motility-stimulating proteins which do not appear to fit into any of the above categories. Examples include: 1) scatter factor (SF), a mesenchymal cell-derived protein which causes contiguous sheets of epithelium to separate into individual cells and stimulates the migration of epithelial as well as vascular endothelial cells; 2) autocrine motility factor (AMF), a tumor cell-derived protein which stimulates migration of the producer cells; and 3) migration-stimulating factor (MSF), a protein produced by fetal and cancer patient fibroblasts which stimulates penetration of three-dimensional collagen gels by non-producing adult fibroblasts. SF, AMF, and MSF are soluble and heat labile proteins with Mr of 77, 55, and 70 kd by SDS-PAGE, respectively, and may be members of a new class of cell-specific regulators of motility. Their physiologic functions have not been established, but available data suggest that they may be involved in fetal development and/or tissue repair.