Molecular signatures of cell migration in C. elegans Q neuroblasts. Academic Article uri icon


  • Metazoan cell movement has been studied extensively in vitro, but cell migration in living animals is much less well understood. In this report, we have studied the Caenorhabditis elegans Q neuroblast lineage during larval development, developing live animal imaging methods for following neuroblast migration with single cell resolution. We find that each of the Q descendants migrates at different speeds and for distinct distances. By quantitative green fluorescent protein imaging, we find that Q descendants that migrate faster and longer than their sisters up-regulate protein levels of MIG-2, a Rho family guanosine triphosphatase, and/or down-regulate INA-1, an integrin alpha subunit, during migration. We also show that Q neuroblasts bearing mutations in either MIG-2 or INA-1 migrate at reduced speeds. The migration defect of the mig-2 mutants, but not ina-1, appears to result from a lack of persistent polarization in the direction of cell migration. Thus, MIG-2 and INA-1 function distinctly to control Q neuroblast migration in living C. elegans.

publication date

  • April 6, 2009