The C. elegans homolog of Drosophila Lethal giant larvae functions redundantly with PAR-2 to maintain polarity in the early embryo.
ABSTRACT Polarity is essential for generating cell diversity. The one-cell C. elegans embryo serves as a model for studying the establishment and maintenance of polarity. In the early embryo, a myosin II-dependent contraction of the cortical meshwork asymmetrically distributes the highly conserved PDZ proteins PAR-3 and PAR-6, as well as an atypical protein kinase C (PKC-3), to the anterior. The RING-finger protein PAR-2 becomes enriched on the posterior cortex and prevents these three proteins from returning to the posterior. In addition to the PAR proteins, other proteins are required for polarity in many metazoans. One example is the conserved Drosophila tumor-suppressor protein Lethal giant larvae (Lgl). In Drosophila and mammals, Lgl contributes to the maintenance of cell polarity and plays a role in asymmetric cell division. We have found that the C. elegans homolog of Lgl, LGL-1, has a role in polarity but is not essential. It localizes asymmetrically to the posterior of the early embryo in a PKC-3-dependent manner, and functions redundantly with PAR-2 to maintain polarity. Furthermore, overexpression of LGL-1 is sufficient to rescue loss of PAR-2 function. LGL-1 negatively regulates the accumulation of myosin (NMY-2) on the posterior cortex, representing a possible mechanism by which LGL-1 might contribute to polarity maintenance.
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ABSTRACT: The Drosophila anterior-posterior axis is specified when the posterior follicle cells signal to polarise the oocyte, leading to the anterior/lateral localisation of the Par-6/aPKC complex and the posterior recruitment of Par-1, which induces a microtubule reorganisation that localises bicoid and oskar mRNAs. Here we show that oocyte polarity requires Slmb, the substrate specificity subunit of the SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets proteins for degradation. The Par-6/aPKC complex is ectopically localised to the posterior of slmb mutant oocytes, and Par-1 and oskar mRNA are mislocalised. Slmb appears to play a related role in epithelial follicle cells, as large slmb mutant clones disrupt epithelial organisation, whereas small clones show an expansion of the apical domain, with increased accumulation of apical polarity factors at the apical cortex. The levels of aPKC and Par-6 are significantly increased in slmb mutants, whereas Baz is slightly reduced. Thus, Slmb may induce the polarisation of the anterior-posterior axis of the oocyte by targeting the Par-6/aPKC complex for degradation at the oocyte posterior. Consistent with this, overexpression of the aPKC antagonist Lgl strongly rescues the polarity defects of slmb mutant germline clones. The role of Slmb in oocyte polarity raises an intriguing parallel with C. elegans axis formation, in which PAR-2 excludes the anterior PAR complex from the posterior cortex to induce polarity, but its function can be substituted by overexpressing Lgl.Development (Cambridge, England). 08/2014; 141(15):2984-92.
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ABSTRACT: In the one-cell C. elegans embryo, polarity is maintained by mutual antagonism between the anterior cortical proteins PAR-3, PKC-3, PAR-6 and CDC-42, and the posterior cortical proteins PAR-2 and LGL-1 on the posterior cortex. The mechanisms by which these proteins interact to maintain polarity are incompletely understood. In this study, we investigate the interplay among PAR-2, LGL-1, myosin, the anterior PAR proteins and CDC-42. We find that PAR-2 and LGL-1 affect cortical myosin accumulation by different mechanisms. LGL-1 does not directly antagonize the accumulation of cortical myosin and instead plays a role in regulating PAR-6 levels. By contrast, PAR-2 likely has separate roles in regulating cortical myosin accumulation and preventing the expansion of the anterior cortical domain. We also provide evidence that asymmetry of active CDC-42 can be maintained independently of LGL-1 and PAR-2 by a redundant pathway that includes the CDC-42 GAP CHIN-1. Finally, we show that, in addition to its primary role in regulating the size of the anterior cortical domain via its binding to PAR-6, CDC-42 has a secondary role in regulating cortical myosin that is not dependent on PAR-6.Development 03/2013; · 6.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A hallmark of cell polarity in metazoans is the distribution of partitioning defective (PAR) proteins into two domains on the membrane. Domain boundaries are set by the collective integration of mechanical, biochemical and biophysical signals, and the resulting PAR domains define areas of cytosol specialization. However, the complexity of the signals acting on PAR proteins has been a barrier to uncovering the general principles of PAR polarity. We propose that physical studies, when combined with genetic data, provide new understanding of the mechanisms of polarity establishment in the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo and other organisms.Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 04/2013; · 37.16 Impact Factor