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EMBO Workshop — Long-distance cell-cell signalling in development and disease

5th September 2021   -   8th September 2021
Exeter, United Kingdom


Cells communicate with a language of chemical signals. Different signals inform cells about their surroundings and orchestrate their behaviour. Such signals are precisely regulated and are essential during embryogenesis and tissue homeostasis. Misregulation of signalling can cause congenital malformations and lead to diseases, including cancers. In recent years, two transport mechanisms have been identified that are used to exchange signals between cells. Signalling filopodia known as cytonemes carry signalling components between distant cells and thus regulate the activity levels of the corresponding signalling pathways across tissues. Also, extracellular vesicles transport a similar set of signals to influence the behaviour of distant cells and are thought to act systemically. In this EMBO Workshop, we will compare and contrast recent exciting findings that illuminate these mechanisms, in particular the processes of production and release of membrane-bound morphogens, intercellular trafficking, and uptake of these signalling components. We will specifically focus on: • Secretory pathways • Extracellular signal trafficking • Establishment of morphogenetic gradients • Interactions of membrane-tethered ligands and receptors • Internalization and sorting of cargo Better knowledge of intercellular trafficking mechanisms is essential because their elucidation will profoundly influence our understanding of the fundamental processes that control development and disease.

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