Cadherin complexity: Recent insights into cadherin superfamily function in C. elegans
ABSTRACT Cadherin superfamily proteins mediate cell-cell adhesion during development. The C. elegans embryo is a powerful system for analyzing how cadherins function in highly stereotyped morphogenetic events. In the embryo, the classical cadherin HMR-1 acts along with the Rac pathway and SAX-7/L1CAM during gastrulation. As adherens junctions mature, PAR complex proteins differentially regulate cadherin complex localization, and SRGP-1/Slit/Robo GAP aids adhesion by promoting membrane bending. Once adherens junctions form, actin is linked to the cell surface via HMP-1/α-catenin, whose actin binding activity is regulated in novel ways. FMI-1/Flamingo and CDH-4/Fat-like regulate axonal morphology of both pioneer and follower neurons. C. elegans thus continues to be useful for uncovering precise functions for cadherin superfamily proteins and their associates in a simple metazoan.
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ABSTRACT: The epithelial zonula adherens (ZA) is a specialized adhesive junction where actin dynamics and myosin-driven contractility coincide. The junctional cytoskeleton is enriched in myosin II, which generates contractile force to support junctional tension. It is also enriched in dynamic actin filaments, which are replenished by ongoing actin assembly. In this study we sought to pursue the relationship between actin assembly and junctional contractility. We demonstrate that WAVE2-Arp2/3 is a major nucleator of actin assembly at the ZA, that likely acts in response to junctional Rac signaling. Further, WAVE2-Arp2/3 is necessary for junctional integrity and contractile tension at the ZA. Maneuvers that disrupt the function of either WAVE2 or Arp2/3 reduced junctional tension and compromised the ability of cells to buffer side-to-side forces acting on the ZA. WAVE2-Arp2/3 disruption depleted junctions of both Myosin IIA and IIB, suggesting that dynamic actin assembly may support junctional tension by facilitating the local recruitment of myosin.Molecular biology of the cell 10/2012; 23(23). DOI:10.1091/mbc.E12-08-0574 · 4.47 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The extreme simplicity of Caenorhabditis elegans makes it an ideal system to study the basic principles of cadherin function at the level of single cells within the physiologically relevant context of a developing animal. The genetic tractability of C. elegans also means that components of cadherin complexes can be identified through genetic modifier screens, allowing a comprehensive in vivo characterization of the macromolecular assemblies involved in cadherin function during tissue formation and maintenance in C. elegans. This work shows that a single cadherin system, the classical cadherin-catenin complex, is essential for diverse morphogenetic events during embryogenesis through its interactions with a range of mostly conserved proteins that act to modulate its function. The role of other members of the cadherin family in C. elegans, including members of the Fat-like, Flamingo/CELSR and calsyntenin families is less well characterized, but they have clear roles in neuronal development and function.Progress in molecular biology and translational science 03/2013; 116C:239-262. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-12-394311-8.00011-X · 3.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Directed migration of neurons is critical in the normal and pathological development of the brain and central nervous system. In C. elegans, the bilateral Q neuroblasts, QR on the right and QL on the left, migrate anteriorly and posteriorly, respectively. Initial protrusion and migration of the Q neuroblasts is autonomously controlled by the transmembrane proteins UNC-40/DCC, PTP-3/LAR, and MIG-21. As QL migrates posteriorly, it encounters and EGL-20/Wnt signal that induces MAB-5/Hox expression that drives QL descendant posterior migration. QR migrates anteriorly away from EGL-20/Wnt and does not activate MAB-5/Hox, resulting in anterior QR descendant migration. A forward genetic screen for new mutations affecting initial Q migrations identified alleles of cdh-4, which caused defects in both QL and QR directional migration similar to unc-40, ptp-3, and mig-21. Previous studies showed that in QL, PTP-3/LAR and MIG-21 act in a pathway in parallel to UNC-40/DCC to drive posterior QL migration. Here we show genetic evidence that CDH-4 acts in the PTP-3/MIG-21 pathway in parallel to UNC-40/DCC to direct posterior QL migration. In QR, the PTP-3/MIG-21 and UNC-40/DCC pathways mutually inhibit each other, allowing anterior QR migration. We report here that CDH-4 acts in both the PTP-3/MIG-21 and UNC-40/DCC pathways in mutual inhibition in QR, and that CDH-4 acts cell-non-autonomously. Interaction of CDH-4 with UNC-40/DCC in QR but not QL represents an inherent left-right asymmetry in the Q cells, the nature of which is not understood. We conclude that CDH-4 might act as a permissive signal for each Q neuroblast to respond differently to anterior-posterior guidance information based upon inherent left-right asymmetries in the Q neuroblasts.Developmental Biology 06/2014; 392(2). DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.06.009 · 3.55 Impact Factor