• melanoblast;
  • melanoma;
  • migration;
  • invadopodia;
  • blebs


During embryonic development in vertebrates, the neural crest-derived melanoblasts migrate along the dorsolateral axis and cross the basal membrane separating the dermis from the epidermis to reach their final location in the interfollicular epidermis and epidermal hair follicles. Neoplastic transformation converts melanocytes into highly invasive and metastatic melanoma cells. In vitro, these cells extend various types of protrusions and adopt two interconvertible modes of migration, mesenchymal and amoeboid, driven by different signalling molecules. In this review, we describe the major contributions of natural mouse mutants, mouse models generated by genetic engineering and in vitro culture systems, to identification of the genes, signalling pathways and mechanisms regulating the migration of normal and pathological cells of the melanocyte lineage, at both the cellular and molecular levels.