Avian embryos could join the list of model organisms used to study a specific type of cell migration called epiboly, thanks to the results of a study published this month in the journal Developmental Dynamics. The new study provides insights into the mechanisms of epiboly, a developmental process involving mass movement of cells as a sheet, which is linked with medical conditions that include wound healing and cancer.
The study, published online on March 15, explains how epithelial cells expand as a sheet and migrate to engulf the entire avian egg yolk as it grows. It also reveals the presence of certain molecules during this process that have not been previously reported in other major developmental models, including Xenopus frogs and zebrafish.
"These molecules and mechanisms of early development in the avian embryo may demonstrate evolutionary differences across species in the collective movement of epithelial cells and motivate additional studies of avian embryo development," said Evan Zamir, an assistant professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech.
Matt Futterman, who worked on the project as a graduate student at Georgia Tech, and mechanical engineering professor Andrs Garca also contributed to this study. The research was funded by Zamir's new faculty support from Georgia Tech and by a grant to Garca from the National Institutes of Health.
In the study, the researchers conducted immunofluorescence and high-resolution confocal microscopy experiments to examine the spatial distribution and expression of five proteins -- vimentin, cytokeratin, β-catenin, E-cadherin and laminin -- as cells moved to wrap the yolk sac of quail embryos during development.
The results showed that during this process, four of the proteins -- vimentin, cytokeratin, β-catenin and E-cadherin -- appeared in the cells located at the free edge of the migrating cell sheet. Finding de
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Georgia Institute of Technology Research News