RUB » Medizin » Abteilung für Anatomie und Molekulare Embryologie

Migration during Development

Cell migration ensures that progenitor cells end up at appropriate sites to undergo differentiation. Limb skeletal muscle originates from myogenic precursor cells in the somites. These precursor cells delaminate from the lateral dermomyotome at brachial and hindlimb levels and invade the lateral plate mesoderm of the outgrowing limbs. Several genes are active during the delamination and migration of these precursor populations.
Chemokine receptor, CXCR4 is a recently identified gene expressed by a subpopulation of somite-derived precursors. We could show that inhibiting the CXCR4 receptor by the use of highly specific peptidic inhibitors, not only affected the migration of the somitic precursors, but also resulted in an altered fate. In addition to limb myogenic migration, we could recently show that CXCR4 and its ligand SDF-1 guide the retrograde migration of cloacal and pectoral girdle muscle precursors from the limb.
As CXCR4 has been implicated in the stem cell biology of satellite cells and endothelial cells we are interested to investigate the role of the CXCR4/SDF-1 axis in fate determination, cell differentiation and stem cell homing in the myogenic and endothelial compartment of the limb.

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EGFP labeled lateral dermomyotomal lips at the hindlimb level in chicken embryo via in ovo electroporation. A cloud of EGFP expressing somatic precursors can be seen in the limb mesenchyme.