Cells are permanently exposed to a multitude of different kind of signals; however how cells respond to simultaneous extracellular signals within a complex in vivo environment is poorly understood. Here, we studied the role of the mechanosensitive ion channel Piezo1 on the migration of the neural crest (NC), a multipotent embryonic cell population. We identify that Piezo1 is required for the migration of Xenopus cephalic NC. We show that loss of Piezo1 promotes focal adhesion turnover and cytoskeletal dynamics by controlling Rac1 activity, leading to increased speed of migration. Moreover, overactivation of Rac1, due to Piezo1 inhibition, counteracts cell migration inhibitory signals by Semaphorins 3A and 3F, generating aberrant neural crest invasion in vivo. Thus, we find that, for directional migration in vivo, neural crest cells require a tight regulation of Rac1, by Semaphorins and Piezo1. We reveal here that a balance between a myriad of signals through Rac1 dictates cell migration in vivo, a mechanism that is likely to be conserved in other cell migration processes.

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