Collective cell migration of the cephalic neural crest: the art of integrating information.
The cephalic neural crest (NC) cells delaminate from the neuroepithelium in large numbers and undergo collective cell migration under the influence of multiple factors including positive and negative taxis, cell-cell interactions mediating cell sorting, cell cooperation, and Contact-Inhibition of Locomotion. The migration has to be tightly regulated to allow NC cells to reach precise locations in order to contribute to various craniofacial structures such as the skeletal and peripheral nervous systems. Several birth defects, syndromes, and malformations are due to improper cephalic NC (CNC) migration, and NC cell migration bears important similarities to cancer cell invasion and metastasis dissemination. Therefore, understanding how CNC cells interpret multiple inputs to achieve directional collective cell migration will shed light on pathological situations where cell migration is involved.