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: PAR proteins distribute asymmetrically across the anterior-posterior axis of the 1-cell-stage C. elegans embryo, and function to establish subsequent anterior-posterior asymmetries. By the end of the 4-cell stage, anteriorly localized PAR proteins, such as PAR-3 and PAR-6, redistribute to the outer, apical surfaces of cells, whereas posteriorly localized PAR proteins, such as PAR-1 and PAR-2, redistribute to the inner, basolateral surfaces. Because PAR proteins are provided maternally, distinguishing apicobasal from earlier anterior-posterior functions requires a method that selectively prevents PAR activity after the 1-cell stage. In the present study we generated hybrid PAR proteins that are targeted for degradation after the 1-cell stage. Embryos containing the hybrid PAR proteins had normal anterior-posterior polarity, but showed defects in apicobasal asymmetries associated with gastrulation. Ectopic separations appeared between lateral surfaces of cells that are normally tightly adherent, cells that ingress during gastrulation failed to accumulate nonmuscle myosin at their apical surfaces and ingression was slowed. Thus, PAR proteins function in both apicobasal and anterior-posterior asymmetry during the first few cell cycles of embryogenesis.Development 12/2003; 130(22):5339-50. · 6.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: How epithelial cells subdivide their plasma membrane into an apical and a basolateral domain is largely unclear. In Drosophila embryos, epithelial cells are generated from a syncytium during cellularization. We show here that polarity is established shortly after cellularization when Par-6 and the atypical protein kinase C concentrate on the apical side of the newly formed cells. Apical localization of Par-6 requires its interaction with activated Cdc42 and dominant-active or dominant-negative Cdc42 disrupt epithelial polarity, suggesting that activation of this GTPase is crucial for the establishment of epithelial polarity. Maintenance of Par-6 localization requires the cytoskeletal protein Lgl. Genetic and biochemical experiments suggest that phosphorylation by aPKC inactivates Lgl on the apical side. On the basolateral side, Lgl is active and excludes Par-6 from the cell cortex, suggesting that complementary cortical domains are maintained by mutual inhibition of aPKC and Lgl on opposite sides of an epithelial cell.Developmental Cell 07/2004; 6(6):845-54. · 12.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We have isolated and analyzed eight strict maternal effect mutations identifying four genes, par-1, par-2, par-3, and par-4, required for cytoplasmic localization in early embryos of the nematode C. elegans. Mutations in these genes lead to defects in cleavage patterns, timing of cleavages, and localization of germ line-specific P granules. Four mutations in par-1 and par-4 are fully expressed maternal effect lethal mutations; all embryos from mothers homozygous for these mutations arrest as amorphous masses of differentiated cells but are specifically lacking intestinal cells. Four mutations in par-2, par-3, and par-4 are incompletely expressed maternal effect lethal mutations and are also grandchildless; some embryos from homozygous mothers survive and grow to become infertile adults due to absence of functional germ cells. We propose that all of these defects result from the failure of a maternally encoded system for intracellular localization in early embryos.Cell 03/1988; 52(3):311-20. · 31.96 Impact Factor