1Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Department of Molecular Embryology and 2Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
Cell migration plays a fundamental role in a wide variety of biological processes including development, tissue repair and disease. These processes depend on directed cell migration along and through cell layers. Chemokines are small secretory proteins that exert their effects by activating a family of G-protein coupled receptors and have been shown to play numerous fundamental roles in the control of physiological and pathological processes during development and in adult tissues, respectively. Stromal-derived factor-1 (SDF-1/CXCL12), a ligand of the chemokine receptor, CXCR4, is involved in providing cells with directional cues as well as in controlling their proliferation and differentiation. Here we studied the expression pattern of SDF-1 in the developing chick embryo. We could detect a specific expression of SDF-1 in the ectoderm, the sclerotome, the intersomitic spaces and the developing limbs. The expression domains of SDF-1 reflect its role in somitic precursor migration and vessel formation in the limbs.