A systematic RNA interference screen reveals a cell migration gene network in C-elegans

Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States
Journal of Cell Science (Impact Factor: 5.43). 01/2007; 119(Pt 23):4811-8. DOI: 10.1242/jcs.03274
Source: PubMed


Cell migration is essential during embryonic development and tissue morphogenesis. During gonadogenesis in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, migration of the distal tip cells forms two U-shaped gonad arms. Malformation results if the distal tip cells stop prematurely or follow an aberrant path, and abnormalities are easily visualized in living nematodes. Here we describe the first comprehensive in vivo RNA interference screen for genes required for cell migration. In this non-biased screen, we systematically analyzed 16,758 RNA-interference depletion experiments by light microscopy and identified 99 genes required for distal tip cell migration. Genetic and physical interaction data connect 59 of these genes to form a cell migration gene network that defines distal tip cell migration in vivo.

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    • "The precise spatiotemporal program of DTC migration is controlled by a complex genetic network including genes pat-3 and cdc-42 (Cram et al. 2006), which encode, respectively , b-integrin and a GTPase downstream of integrin signaling. Genetic networks need to be robust so as to compensate for adverse changes in gene expression that can result from stress (reviewed in Lant and Storey 2010; Zhou et al. 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Biological robustness, the ability of an organism to maintain a steady state output as genetic or environmental inputs change, is critical for proper development. MicroRNAs have been implicated in biological robustness mechanisms through their post-transcriptional regulation of genes and gene networks. Previous research has illustrated examples of microRNAs promoting robustness as part of feedback loops and genetic switches, and by buffering noisy gene expression resulting from environmental and/or internal changes. Here we show that the evolutionarily conserved microRNAs mir-34 and mir-83 (homolog of mammalian mir-29) contribute to the robust migration pattern of the distal tip cells in Caenorhabditis elegans by specifically protecting against stress from temperature changes. Furthermore, our results indicate that mir-34 and mir-83 may modulate the integrin signaling involved in distal tip cell migration by potentially targeting the GTPase cdc-42 and the beta-integrin pat-3. Our findings suggest a role for mir-34 and mir-83 in integrin-controlled cell migrations that may be conserved through higher organisms. They also provide yet another example of microRNA-based developmental robustness in response to a specific environmental stress, rapid temperature fluctuations. Copyright © 2015, The Genetics Society of America.
    Genetics 06/2015; 200(4). DOI:10.1534/genetics.115.179184 · 5.96 Impact Factor
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    • "dyn-1 loss of function mutants are embryonic lethal [36], [38] due to endocytosis defects. Beyond this main phenotype, defective DYN-1 causes failure in engulfment [36]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Abnormal regulation of cell migration and altered rearrangement of cytoskeleton are characteristic of metastatic cells. The first described suppressor of metastatic processes is NM23-H1, which displays NDPK (nucleoside-diphosphate kinase) activity. To better understand the role of nm23 genes in cell migration, we investigated the function of NDK-1, the sole Caenorhabditis elegans homolog of group I NDPKs in distal tip cell (DTC) migration. Dorsal phase of DTC migration is regulated by integrin mediated signaling. We find that ndk-1 loss of function mutants show defects in this phase. Epistasis analysis using mutants of the α-integrin ina-1 and the downstream functioning motility-promoting signaling module (referred to as CED-10 pathway) placed NDK-1 downstream of CED-10/Rac. As DTC migration and engulfment of apoptotic corpses are analogous processes, both partially regulated by the CED-10 pathway, we investigated defects of apoptosis in ndk-1 mutants. Embryos and germ cells defective for NDK-1 showed an accumulation of apoptotic cell corpses. Furthermore, NDK-1::GFP is expressed in gonadal sheath cells, specialized cells for engulfment and clearence of apoptotic corpses in germ line, which indicates a role for NDK-1 in apoptotic corpse removal. In addition to the CED-10 pathway, engulfment in the worm is also mediated by the CED-1 pathway. abl-1/Abl and abi-1/Abi, which function in parallel to both CED-10/CED-1 pathways, also regulate engulfment and DTC migration. ndk-1(-);abi-1(-) double mutant embryos display an additive phenotype (e. g. enhanced number of apoptotic corpses) which suggests that ndk-1 acts in parallel to abi-1. Corpse number in ndk-1(-);ced-10(-) double mutants, however, is similar to ced-10(-) single mutants, suggesting that ndk-1 acts downstream of ced-10 during engulfment. In addition, NDK-1 shows a genetic interaction with DYN-1/dynamin, a downstream component of the CED-1 pathway. In summary, we propose that NDK-1/NDPK might represent a converging point of CED-10 and CED-1 pathways in the process of cytoskeleton rearrangement.
    PLoS ONE 03/2014; 9(3):e92687. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0092687 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "No putative downstream partners of MAX-2 or PAK-1 have been identified. An RNAi screen has identified many other factors regulating DTC migration (Cram et al. 2006), and the roles of many are not understood. "
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    ABSTRACT: p21-activated kinases (Paks) are prominent mediators of Rac/Cdc42-dependent and -independent signaling and regulate signal transduction and cytoskeletal-based cell movements. We used the reproducible migrations of the Caenorhabditis elegans gonadal distal tip cells to show that two of the three nematode Pak proteins, MAX-2 and PAK-1, function redundantly in regulation of cell migration but are regulated by very different mechanisms. First, we suggest that MAX-2 requires CED-10/Rac function and thus functions canonically. Second, PIX-1 and GIT-1 function in the same role as PAK-1, and PAK-1 interaction with PIX-1 is required for PAK-1 activity; thus, PAK-1 functions noncanonically. The human Pak-Pix-Git complex is central to noncanonical Pak signaling and requires only modest Rac/CDC-42 input. Unlike the human complex, our results suggest that the C. elegans Pak-Pix-Git complex requires PAK-1 kinase domain activity. This study delineates signaling network relationships in this cell migration model, thus providing potential further mechanistic insights and an assessment of total Pak contribution to cell migration events.
    G3-Genes Genomes Genetics 02/2013; 3(2):181-95. DOI:10.1534/g3.112.004416 · 3.20 Impact Factor
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