Throughout embryonic development, macrophages not only act as the first line of defence against infection but also help to sculpt organs and tissues of the embryo by removing dead cells and secreting extracellular matrix components. Key to their function is the ability of embryonic macrophages to migrate and disperse throughout the embryo. Despite these important developmental functions, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying embryonic macrophage migration in vivo. Integrins are key regulators of many of the adult macrophage responses, but their role in embryonic macrophages remains poorly characterized. Here, we have used Drosophila macrophages (haemocytes) as a model system to address the role of integrins during embryonic macrophage dispersal in vivo. We show that the main βPS integrin, myospheroid, affects haemocyte migration in two ways; by shaping the three-dimensional environment in which haemocytes migrate and by regulating the migration of haemocytes themselves. Live imaging revealed a requirement for myospheroid within haemocytes to coordinate the microtubule and actin dynamics, and to enable haemocyte developmental dispersal, contact repulsion and inflammatory migration towards wounds.
- Cell Movement/physiology
- Drosophila Proteins/physiology
- Integrin beta Chains/metabolism