Chemokines are vertebrate-specific, structurally related proteins that function primarily in controlling cell movements by activating specific 7-transmembrane receptors. Chemokines play critical roles in a large number of biological processes and are also involved in a range of pathological conditions. For these reasons, chemokines are at the focus of studies in developmental biology and of clinically oriented research aimed at controlling cancer, inflammation, and immunological diseases. The small size of the zebrafish embryos, their rapid external development, and optical properties as well as the large number of eggs and the fast expansion in genetic tools available make this model an extremely useful one for studying the function of chemokines and chemokine receptors in an in vivo setting. Here, we review the findings relevant to the role that chemokines play in the context of directed single-cell migration, primarily in neutrophils and germ cells, and compare it to the collective cell migration of the zebrafish lateral line. We present the current knowledge concerning the formation of the chemokine gradient, its interpretation within the cell, and the molecular mechanisms underlying the cellular response to chemokine signals during directed migration.
Keywords: cell migration; cytokines.
© 2015 The Authors.