Drosophila integrin adhesion complexes are essential for hemocyte migration in vivo

Carolina G A Moreira, Antonio Jacinto, Soren Prag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Cell migration is an important biological process which has been intensively studied in the past decades. Numerous techniques, mainly involving two-dimensional cell culture systems, have contributed to dissecting the essential mechanisms underlying this process. However, the development of three-dimensional cell culture and in vivo systems has shown some differences with what was previously believed to be well-established cell migration mechanisms, suggesting that two-dimensional cell motility would be a poor predictor of in vivo behaviour. Drosophila is a widely recognized model organism to study developmental and homeostatic processes and has been widely used to investigate cell migration. Here, we focus on the migration of small groups of pupal hemocytes that accumulate during larval stages in dorsal patches. We show that integrins, and other known nascent adhesion-related proteins such as Rhea and Fermitin 1, are crucial for this process and that their depletion does not affect polarization in response to environmental cues. We also present evidence for the importance of adhesion maturation-related proteins in hemocyte migration, namely Zyxin. Zyxin depletion in hemocytes leads to a significant increase of cell speed without affecting their response to a chemotactic cue. This is the first report of a systematic analysis using Drosophila melanogaster hemocytes to study adhesion-related proteins and their function in cell migration in vivo. Our data point to mechanisms of cell migration similar to those described in three-dimensional in vitro systems and other in vivo model organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-801
Number of pages7
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2013


  • Drosophila
  • Hemocyte
  • Integrin
  • Migration


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