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Thread: How do cells navigate?

  1. #1 How do cells navigate? 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    I think I had read somewhere that during foetus development cells were migrating to various places, but how do cells move and more importanty how do they know where to go and when to stop?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    I don't know how exactly eukaryotic cell taxis works, but I am quite familiar with bacterial taxis.

    Basically how it works is you have two types of movement created by flagella, tumbling and swimming. Chemoreceptors on the surface of the bacteria either promote tumbling or swimming motion. What tumbling does is cause a change in direction, so you can picture a little bacterium tumbling randomly about in a circle, then it switches to swimming and shoots off in a relatively straight line, then it switches back to tumbling. Chemoattractants cause phosphorylation of a chain of proteins that promote longer phases of swimming, and less occurances of tumbling. This causes the bacteria to have greater net movement towards a higher concentration of the chemoattractant. Chemorepelants promote tumbling, so if the bacteria moves towards something nasty it is more likely to switch directions and end up with net movement away from the repelant, because it is more likely to swim for a longer amount of time if it is heading away from the repelant.

    So, you can see that ět's not quite an efficient way of finding things or getting away from danger, but in the long run it works.

    Taxis involving pseudopods is more complicated and involves changes in the cytoskeleton and microtubules and all that molecular biology stuff.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    May 2005
    There is no single answer for eukaryotic cell migration. So check the literature I would say.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

    - Arnaud Amalric
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