Lipid phosphates can act as signaling molecules to influence cell division, apoptosis, and migration. wunen and wunen2 encode Drosophila lipid phosphate phosphohydrolases, integral membrane enzymes that dephosphorylate extracellular lipid phosphates. wun and wun2 act redundantly in somatic tissues to repel migrating germ cells, although the mechanism by which germ cells respond is unclear. Here, we report that wun2 also functions in germ cells, enabling them to perceive the wun/wun2-related signal from the soma. Upon Wun2 expression, cultured insect cells dephosphorylate and internalize exogenously supplied lipid phosphate. We propose that Drosophila germ cell migration and survival are controlled by competition for hydrolysis of a lipid phosphate between germ cells and soma.
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