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Regulation of cell adhesion and migration during vertebrate gastrulation – ICM (Intercellular motility)

Submission summary

A fundamental property of animal cells is their ability to form coherent yet highly dynamic tissues. While the migration of single cells on extracellular support is quite well understood, the movement of cells within compact tissues remains mysterious. In this mode of migration, called “intercellular motility”, cells use each other as support, which implies that, as cells exchange partners, they must be able to constantly remodel their adhesive bonds. The goal of this project is to determine the mechanisms that confer tissues with different degrees of motility and dissect the process of cell attachment-detachment. For this purpose, we study the ectoderm and the mesoderm of early amphibian embryo. These two germ layers, which will give rise to most of the structures of the adult organism, are prototypic cases of, respectively, low and highly motile tissues. The system proposed offers unequaled advantages to get to the core of this problem. We will be able to use highly sophisticated imaging techniques to follow the molecular dynamics of single adhesive bonds as they form and break, and view in parallel the forces exerted on them. This study will contribute to understand of an essential function of animal cell function. It will have also a direct impact on the study of mechanisms related to human health, in particular cancer metastasis, where malignant cells become abnormally motile, resembling embryonic mesoderm cells.

Project coordination

Francois Fagotto (Centre de Recherhe de Biochimie Macromoléculaire)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CRBM Centre de Recherhe de Biochimie Macromoléculaire

Help of the ANR 500,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: May 2015 - 48 Months

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