Branch-specific migration cues in the Drosophila tracheal system



The Drosophila tracheal system forms by highly stereotyped migration of the tracheal cells, generating an elaborate network of interconnected tubes supplying oxygen to all tissues. A major guiding system in the migration process of all branches is the dynamic and localized expression of Branchless (Bnl), an FGF-like molecule. Bnl triggers the activation of the FGF receptor Breathless (Btl) locally in all tracheal cells. Is this the only guiding cue, or do additional local signals provide distinct inputs to each branch? Several recent papers identify such local signals, relying on contacts with specific cell types and with the matrix encountered by the migrating tracheal branches. In particular, the paper by Boube et al(1) demonstrates a role for PS integrins in promoting migration of a specific tracheal branch. BioEssays 24:110–113, 2002. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.