Cell migration is a widespread process both in development and in disease. The molecular and cellular aspects of single cell migration has been extensively described, however, the behavior of cells when forming a functional moving community is much less characterized. In this review, we focus on the chain-like cell collectives and present the main model systems from insects to mammals that aim at deciphering the cellular control and the signaling pathways regulating the coordinated movement of such cell communities. A moving cellular chain is polarized: upon receiving and processing the signals from the environment, the leader cells in the front region transmit the information to the followers located at the trailing region. We will discuss how the first cells are singled out and how the cells within the collective communicate with each other via direct (cellular projections) and indirect (soluble factors) interactions.
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