Developmental biology

Cell migration and activated PI3K/AKT-directed elongation in the developing rat Müllerian duct.

PMID 19013450


In vertebrates, the Müllerian duct elongates along the Wolffian duct, a mesonephric structure that is required for Müllerian duct formation. Recently, several genes required for initial Müllerian duct formation have been identified. However, the precise mechanism of Müllerian duct elongation remains to be elucidated. In this study, we investigated dynamic morphological changes in the elongating Müllerian duct in rat urogenital ridges in organ culture manipulated by microincision and/or chemical inhibitors. Mechanical division of the developing Müllerian duct showed that epithelial cells of the Müllerian duct actively migrate along the anterior-posterior axis independent of the proliferative expansion of the anterior portion of the duct. We found that the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway is activated in the Müllerian duct epithelium and is required for elongation of the tip of the duct; however, migration of Müllerian duct epithelial cells proximal to the tip remains intact when PI3K/AKT is inactivated. Although much is known about the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to Müllerian duct regression, the present findings provide a fuller understanding of the mechanisms contributing to Müllerian duct formation and to the general process of early tubulogenesis.

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