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Publications (4)31.12 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: An important step in epithelial organ development is size maturation of the organ lumen to attain correct dimensions. Here we show that the regulated expression of Tenectin (Tnc) is critical to shape the Drosophila melanogaster hindgut tube. Tnc is a secreted protein that fills the embryonic hindgut lumen during tube diameter expansion. Inside the lumen, Tnc contributes to detectable O-Glycans and forms a dense striated matrix. Loss of tnc causes a narrow hindgut tube, while Tnc over-expression drives tube dilation in a dose-dependent manner. Cellular analyses show that luminal accumulation of Tnc causes an increase in inner and outer tube diameter, and cell flattening within the tube wall, similar to the effects of a hydrostatic pressure in other systems. When Tnc expression is induced only in cells at one side of the tube wall, Tnc fills the lumen and equally affects all cells at the lumen perimeter, arguing that Tnc acts non-cell-autonomously. Moreover, when Tnc expression is directed to a segment of a tube, its luminal accumulation is restricted to this segment and affects the surrounding cells to promote a corresponding local diameter expansion. These findings suggest that deposition of Tnc into the lumen might contribute to expansion of the lumen volume, and thereby to stretching of the tube wall. Consistent with such an idea, ectopic expression of Tnc in different developing epithelial tubes is sufficient to cause dilation, while epidermal Tnc expression has no effect on morphology. Together, the results show that epithelial tube diameter can be modelled by regulating the levels and pattern of expression of a single luminal glycoprotein.
    PLoS Genetics 08/2012; 8(8):e1002850. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The differentiation of an extracellular matrix (ECM) at the apical side of epithelial cells implies massive polarised secretion and membrane trafficking. An epithelial cell is hence engaged in coordinating secretion and cell polarity for a correct and efficient ECM formation. We are studying the molecular mechanisms that Drosophila tracheal and epidermal cells deploy to form their specific apical ECM during differentiation. In this work we demonstrate that the two genetically identified factors haunted and ghost are essential for polarity maintenance, membrane topology as well as for secretion of the tracheal luminal matrix and the cuticle. We show that they code for the Drosophila COPII vesicle-coating components Sec23 and Sec24, respectively, that organise vesicle transport from the ER to the Golgi apparatus. Taken together, epithelial differentiation during Drosophila embryogenesis is a concerted action of ECM formation, plasma membrane remodelling and maintenance of cell polarity that all three rely mainly, if not absolutely, on the canonical secretory pathway from the ER over the Golgi apparatus to the plasma membrane. Our results indicate that COPII vesicles constitute a central hub for these processes.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(5):e10802. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Precise epithelial tube diameters rely on coordinated cell shape changes and apical membrane enlargement during tube growth. Uniform tube expansion in the developing Drosophila trachea requires the assembly of a transient intraluminal chitin matrix, where chitin forms a broad cable that expands in accordance with lumen diameter growth. Like the chitinous procuticle, the tracheal luminal chitin cable displays a filamentous structure that presumably is important for matrix function. Here, we show that knickkopf (knk) and retroactive (rtv) are two new tube expansion mutants that fail to form filamentous chitin structures, both in the tracheal and cuticular chitin matrices. Mutations in knk and rtv are known to disrupt the embryonic cuticle, and our combined genetic analysis and chemical chitin inhibition experiments support the argument that Knk and Rtv specifically assist in chitin function. We show that Knk is an apical GPI-linked protein that acts at the plasma membrane. Subcellular mislocalization of Knk in previously identified tube expansion mutants that disrupt septate junction (SJ) proteins, further suggest that SJs promote chitinous matrix organization and uniform tube expansion by supporting polarized epithelial protein localization. We propose a model in which Knk and the predicted chitin-binding protein Rtv form membrane complexes essential for epithelial tubulogenesis and cuticle formation through their specific role in directing chitin filament assembly.
    Development 02/2006; 133(1):163-71. · 6.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epithelial tubes are found in many vital organs and require uniform and correct tube diameters for optimal function. Tube size depends on apical membrane growth and subapical cytoskeletal reorganization, but the cues that coordinate these events to ensure functional tube shape remain elusive. We find that epithelial tubes in the Drosophila trachea require luminal chitin polysaccharides to attain the correct diameter. Tracheal chitin forms a broad transient filament within the tubes during the restricted period of expansion. Loss of chitin causes tubular constrictions and cysts associated with irregular subapical cytoskeletal organization, without affecting epithelial integrity and polarity. Analysis of previously identified tube expansion mutants in genes encoding septate junction proteins further suggests that septate junction components may function in tubulogenesis through their role in luminal matrix assembly. We propose that the transient luminal protein/polysaccharide matrix is sensed by the epithelial cells and coordinates cytoskeletal organization to ensure uniform lumen diameter.
    Developmental Cell 10/2005; 9(3):423-30. · 12.86 Impact Factor