Arteries are formed by vein-derived endothelial tip cells Cong Xu, Sana Hasan, Inga Schmidt, Susana F. Rocha, Jeroen Bussmann, Ralf H. Adams and Arndt F. Siekmann* *Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Roentgenstr. 20, 48149 Muenster, Germany Tissue vascularization entails the formation of a blood vessel plexus, which subsequently remodels into a hierarchical network consisting of arteries and veins. Using time-lapse imaging of zebrafish fin regeneration and genetic lineage tracing of endothelial cells in the mouse retina, we show that vein-derived endothelial tip cells contribute to emerging arteries. By contrast, we did not detect arterial cell contribution to forming veins. Our time-lapse movies uncover that arterial-fated tip cells changed direction and migrated against the outgrowing vasculature. In animals mutant for the chemokine receptor cxcr4a, endothelial cell turning and thus artery formation was specifically affected. Through cell transplantation experiments, we found that cxcr4a mutant cells could contribute to developing arteries when in association with wildtype cells, suggesting collective migration of endothelial cells during artery formation. Together, our findings reveal specific cell migratory behaviors in the developing blood vessel plexus, and uncover a conserved mode of artery formation.