Scientists from Johns Hopkins University said they have found a way to control the movement of cells.
According to the authors of the work, the molecular pathways along which cells move can lead to metastasis of cancer cells or travel to distant areas of the body.
In order to understand the principles of cell movement, the authors studied the Tre1 gene and its role in the development of the salivary glands in fruit flies: they created insects that lack the protein-coding part of the Tre1 gene. Next, the scientists placed a fluorescent label on the Tre1 protein to find out where it is located at key stages of development.
In experiments with fruit fly embryos carrying an intact Tre1 gene, the cells that produce future generations of the organism migrate to the genital organ known as the gonad.
However, without the Tre1 gene, most germ cells were unable to meet with other non-germ cells or somatic cells of the gonad.
This is not the first time that scientists have noted the importance of Tre1 in germ cell navigation.
Scientists plan to further study Tre1 and its protein-enzyme linkages.