Modeling migration and metastasis in Drosophila

Anna C.C. Jang, Michelle Starz-Gaiano, Denise J. Montell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Cell motility makes essential contributions to normal embryonic development and homeostasis. It is also thought to contribute in important ways to tumor metastasis. Because of this dual importance, cell migration has been extensively studied. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has served as an important model organism for genetic analysis of many aspects of developmental biology, including cell migration. Here we describe the various types of cell movements that have been studied in detail, which represent models for epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, transepithelial migration, inflammation, wound healing and invasion. We summarize what has been learned about the molecular control of cell migration from genetic studies in the fly. In addition, we describe recent efforts to model tumor metastasis directly in Drosophila by expressing oncogenes and/or mutating tumor suppressor genes. Together these studies suggest that Drosophila has much to offer as a model for varied aspects of tumor metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-114
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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