Which Way is Up? UCSB study shows that key protein in epithelial cells plays important roles in how cells sense direction

May 22, 2014

What do sled dogs and cell clusters have in common? According to research by MCDB’s Denise Montell, they both travel in groups and need a leader to make sure they all follow in the same direction. Montell, Duggan Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology, and colleagues worked on three independent projects involving E-cadherin, a protein found in epithelial cells throughout the body. The researchers used fruit-fly ovaries to uncover the role played by E-cadherin in collective cell migration. Their findings are reported today in the journal Cell.

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