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Cell migration is an important feature of embryonic development as well as tumor metastasis. Border cells in the Drosophila ovary have emerged as a useful in vivo model for uncovering the molecular mechanisms that control many aspects of cell migration including guidance. It was previously shown that two receptor tyrosine kinases, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and PDGF- and VEGF-related receptor (PVR), together contribute to border cell migration. Whereas the ligand for PVR, PVF1, is known to guide border cells, it is unclear which of the four activating EGFR ligands function in this process. We developed an assay to detect the ability of secreted factors to reroute migrating border cells in vivo and tested the activity of EGFR ligands compared to PVF1. Two ligands, Keren and Spitz, guided border cells whereas the other ligands, Gurken and Vein, did not. In addition, only Keren and Spitz were expressed at the appropriate stage in the oocyte, the target of border cell migration. Therefore, a complex combination of EGFR and PVR ligands together guide border cells to the oocyte.


Jocelyn A McDonald, Elaine M Pinheiro, Lisa Kadlec, Trudi Schupbach, Denise J Montell. Multiple EGFR ligands participate in guiding migrating border cells. Developmental biology. 2006 Aug 1;296(1):94-103

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PMID: 16712835

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