PloS one

Microtubules and Lis-1/NudE/dynein regulate invasive cell-on-cell migration in Drosophila.

PMID 22808215


The environment through which cells migrate in vivo differs considerably from the in vitro environment where cell migration is often studied. In vivo many cells migrate in crowded and complex 3-dimensional tissues and may use other cells as the substratum on which they move. This includes neurons, glia and their progenitors in the brain. Here we use a Drosophila model of invasive, collective migration in a cellular environment to investigate the roles of microtubules and microtubule regulators in this type of cell movement. Border cells are of epithelial origin and have no visible microtubule organizing center (MTOC). Interestingly, microtubule plus-end growth was biased away from the leading edge. General perturbation of the microtubule cytoskeleton and analysis by live imaging showed that microtubules in both the migrating cells and the substrate cells affect movement. Also, whole-tissue and cell autonomous deletion of the microtubule regulator Stathmin had distinct effects. A screen of 67 genes encoding microtubule interacting proteins uncovered cell autonomous requirements for Lis-1, NudE and Dynein in border cell migration. Net cluster migration was decreased, with initiation of migration and formation of dominant front cell protrusion being most dramatically affected. Organization of cells within the cluster and localization of cell-cell adhesion molecules were also abnormal. Given the established role of Lis-1 in migrating neurons, this could indicate a general role of Lis-1/NudE, Dynein and microtubules, in cell-on-cell migration. Spatial regulation of cell-cell adhesion may be a common theme, consistent with observing both cell autonomous and non-autonomous requirements in both systems.