[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During epithelial cell polarization, Yurt (Yrt) is initially confined to the lateral membrane and supports the stability of this membrane domain by repressing the Crumbs-containing apical machinery. At late stages of embryogenesis, the apical recruitment of Yrt restricts the size of the apical membrane. However, the molecular basis sustaining the spatiotemporal dynamics of Yrt remains undefined. In this paper, we report that atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) phosphorylates Yrt to prevent its premature apical localization. A nonphosphorylatable version of Yrt dominantly dismantles the apical domain, showing that its aPKC-mediated exclusion is crucial for epithelial cell polarity. In return, Yrt counteracts aPKC functions to prevent apicalization of the plasma membrane. The ability of Yrt to bind and restrain aPKC signaling is central for its role in polarity, as removal of the aPKC binding site neutralizes Yrt activity. Thus, Yrt and aPKC are involved in a reciprocal antagonistic regulatory loop that contributes to segregation of distinct and mutually exclusive membrane domains in epithelial cells.
The Journal of Cell Biology 02/2014; · 10.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The RNA-binding protein Fragile X Mental Retardation (FMRP) is an evolutionarily conserved protein that is particularly abundant in the brain due to its high expression in neurons. FMRP deficiency causes fragile X mental retardation syndrome. In neurons, FMRP controls the translation of target mRNAs in part by promoting dynamic transport in and out neuronal RNA granules. We and others have previously shown that upon stress, mammalian FMRP dissociates from translating polysomes to localize into neuronal-like granules termed stress granules (SG). This localization of FMRP in SG is conserved in Drosophila. Whether FMRP plays a key role in SG formation, how FMRP is recruited into SG, and whether its association with SG is dynamic are currently unknown. In contrast with mammalian FMRP, which has two paralog proteins, Drosophila FMR1 (dFMRP) is encoded by a single gene that has no paralog. Using this genetically simple model, we assessed the role of dFMRP in SG formation and defined the determinants required for its recruitment in SG as well as its dynamics in SG. We show that dFMRP is dispensable for SG formation in vitro and ex vivo. FRAP experiments showed that dFMRP shuttles in and out SG. The shuttling activity of dFMRP is mediated by a protein-protein interaction domain located at the N-terminus of the protein. This domain is, however, dispensable for the localization of dFMRP in SG. This localization of dFMRP in SG requires the KH and RGG motifs which are known to mediate RNA binding, as well as the C-terminal glutamine/asparagine rich domain. Our studies thus suggest that the mechanisms controlling the recruitment of FMRP into SG and those that promote its shuttling between granules and the cytosol are uncoupled. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of the regulated shuttling activity of a SG component between RNA granules and the cytosol.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(2):e55342. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drosophila melanogaster Crumbs (Crb) and its mammalian orthologues (CRB1-3) share evolutionarily conserved but poorly defined roles in regulating epithelial polarity and, in photoreceptor cells, morphogenesis and stability. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms of Crb function is vital, as mutations in the human CRB1 gene cause retinal dystrophies. Here, we report that Crb restricts Rac1-NADPH oxidase-dependent superoxide production in epithelia and photoreceptor cells. Reduction of superoxide levels rescued epithelial defects in crb mutant embryos, demonstrating that limitation of superoxide production is a crucial function of Crb and that NADPH oxidase and superoxide contribute to the molecular network regulating epithelial tissue organization. We further show that reduction of Rac1 or NADPH oxidase activity or quenching of reactive oxygen species prevented degeneration of Crb-deficient retinas. Thus, Crb fulfills a protective role during light exposure by limiting oxidative damage resulting from Rac1-NADPH oxidase complex activity. Collectively, our results elucidate an important mechanism by which Crb functions in epithelial organization and the prevention of retinal degeneration.
The Journal of Cell Biology 09/2012; 198(6):991-8. · 10.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drosophila Crumbs (Crb) and its mammalian ortholog CRB3 control epithelial polarity through poorly understood molecular mechanisms. Elucidating these mechanisms is crucial, because the physiology of epithelia largely depends on the polarized architecture of individual epithelial cells. In addition, loss of CRB3 favors tumor cell growth, metastasis and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). Using Drosophila embryos, we report that Rac1 sustains PI3K signaling, which is required for Rac1 activation. Crb represses this positive-feedback loop. Notably, this property confers to Crb its ability to promote epithelial integrity in vivo, because attenuation of either Rac1 or PI3K activity rescues the crb mutant phenotype. Moreover, inhibition of Rac1 or PI3K results in Crb-dependent apical membrane growth, whereas Rac1 activation restricts membrane localization of Crb and interferes with apical domain formation. This illustrates that Crb and the Rac1-PI3K module are antagonists, and that the fine balance between the activities of these proteins is crucial to maintain epithelial organization and an appropriate apical to basolateral ratio. Together, our results elucidate a mechanism that mediates Crb function and further define the role of PI3K and Rac1 in epithelial morphogenesis, allowing for a better understanding of how distinct membrane domains are regulated in polarized epithelial cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Apical-basal polarity is a basic organizing principle of epithelial cells. Consequently, defects in polarity are associated with numerous human pathologies, including many forms of cancer. Recent work in Drosophila has identified novel roles for, or has greatly enhanced our understanding of, functional modules within the epithelial polarity network. A series of recent papers have highlighted the key function of the scaffolding protein Bazooka/Par3 as an early polarity landmark, and its crucial role in dynamic segregation of the apical membrane from the adherens junction. Moreover, novel polarity modules have recently been discovered; the Yurt/Coracle group supports the basolateral membrane during a defined time window of development, while a second module, including the kinases LKB1 and AMP-activated protein kinase, is required for polarity when epithelial cells experience metabolic stress. These new findings emphasize unforeseen complexities in the regulation of epithelial polarity, and raise new questions about the mechanisms of epithelial tissue organization and function.
Trends in cell biology 04/2011; 21(7):401-8. · 12.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Defects in apical-basal polarity regulation are associated with tissue overgrowth and tumorogenesis, yet the molecular mechanisms linking epithelial polarity regulators to hyperplasia or neoplasia remain elusive. In addition, exploration of the expression and function of the full complement of proteins required for the polarized architecture of epithelial cells in the context of cancer is awaited. This paper provides an overview of recent studies performed on Drosophila and vertebrates showing that apical polarity proteins of the Crumbs family act to repress tissue growth and epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Thus, these proteins emerge as potential tumor suppressors. Interestingly, analysis of the molecular function of Crumbs proteins reveals a function for these polarity regulators in junctional complexes stability and control of signaling pathways regulating proliferation and apoptosis. Thereby, these studies provide a molecular basis explaining how regulation of epithelial polarity is coupled to tumorogenesis.
BioMed Research International 01/2011; 2011:868217. · 2.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulation of epithelial tube size is critical for organ function. However, the mechanisms of tube size control remain poorly understood. In the Drosophila trachea, tube dimensions are regulated by a luminal extracellular matrix (ECM). ECM organization requires apical (luminal) secretion of the protein Vermiform (Verm), which depends on the basolateral septate junction (SJ). Here, we show that apical and basolateral epithelial polarity proteins interact to control tracheal tube size independently of the Verm pathway. Mutations in yurt (yrt) and scribble (scrib), which encode SJ-associated polarity proteins, cause an expansion of tracheal tubes but do not disrupt Verm secretion. Reducing activity of the apical polarity protein Crumbs (Crb) suppresses the length defects in yrt but not scrib mutants, suggesting that Yrt acts by negatively regulating Crb. Conversely, Crb overexpression increases tracheal tube dimensions. Reducing crb dosage also rescues tracheal size defects caused by mutations in coracle (cora), which encodes an SJ-associated polarity protein. In addition, crb mutations suppress cora length defects without restoring Verm secretion. Together, these data indicate that Yrt, Cora, Crb, and Scrib operate independently of the Verm pathway. Our data support a model in which Cora and Yrt act through Crb to regulate epithelial tube size.
Current biology: CB 12/2009; 20(1):55-61. · 10.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The integrity of polarized epithelia is critical for development and human health. Many questions remain concerning the full complement and the function of the proteins that regulate cell polarity. Here we report that the Drosophila FERM proteins Yurt (Yrt) and Coracle (Cora) and the membrane proteins Neurexin IV (Nrx-IV) and Na(+),K(+)-ATPase are a new group of functionally cooperating epithelial polarity proteins. This 'Yrt/Cora group' promotes basolateral membrane stability and shows negative regulatory interactions with the apical determinant Crumbs (Crb). Genetic analyses indicate that Nrx-IV and Na(+),K(+)-ATPase act together with Cora in one pathway, whereas Yrt acts in a second redundant pathway. Moreover, we show that the Yrt/Cora group is essential for epithelial polarity during organogenesis but not when epithelial polarity is first established or during terminal differentiation. This property of Yrt/Cora group proteins explains the recovery of polarity in embryos lacking the function of the Lethal giant larvae (Lgl) group of basolateral polarity proteins. We also find that the mammalian Yrt orthologue EPB41L5 (also known as YMO1 and Limulus) is required for lateral membrane formation, indicating a conserved function of Yrt proteins in epithelial polarity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) control cell and organism growth through evolutionarily conserved signaling pathways. The mammalian acid-labile subunit (ALS) is a secreted protein that complexes with IGFs to modulate their activity. Recent work has shown that a Drosophila homolog of ALS, dALS, can also complex with and modulate the activity of a Drosophila IGF. Here we report the first mutations in the gene encoding dALS. Unexpectedly, we find that these mutations are allelic to a previously described mutation in convoluted (conv), a gene required for epithelial morphogenesis. In conv mutants, the tubes of the Drosophila tracheal system become abnormally elongated without altering tracheal cell number. conv null mutations cause larval lethality, but do not disrupt several processes required for tracheal tube size control, including septate junction formation, deposition of a lumenal/apical extracellular matrix, and lumenal secretion of Vermiform and Serpentine, two putative matrix-modifying proteins. Clearance of lumenal matrix and subcellular localization of clathrin also appear normal in conv mutants. However, we show that Conv/dALS is required for the dynamic organization of the transient lumenal matrix and normal structure of the cuticle that lines the tracheal lumen. These and other data suggest that the Conv/dALS-dependent tube size control mechanism is distinct from other known processes involved in tracheal tube size regulation. Moreover, we present evidence indicating that Conv/dALS has a novel, IGF-signaling independent function in tracheal morphogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Crumbs (Crb) complex is a key regulator of epithelial cell architecture where it promotes apical membrane formation. Here, we show that binding of the FERM protein Yurt to the cytoplasmic domain of Crb is part of a negative-feedback loop that regulates Crb activity. Yurt is predominantly a basolateral protein but is recruited by Crb to apical membranes late during epithelial development. Loss of Yurt causes an expansion of the apical membrane in embryonic epithelia and photoreceptor cells similar to Crb overexpression and in contrast to loss of Crb. Analysis of yurt crb double mutants suggests that these genes function in one pathway and that yurt negatively regulates crb. We also show that the mammalian Yurt orthologs YMO1 and EHM2 bind to mammalian Crb proteins. We propose that Yurt is part of an evolutionary conserved negative-feedback mechanism that restricts Crb complex activity in promoting apical membrane formation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CDX2, a member of the caudal family of transcription factors, is involved in enterocyte lineage specification. CDX2 activates many intestine-specific genes, such as sucrase-isomaltase and lactase-phlorizin hydrolase (LPH), and adhesion proteins, namely, LI-cadherin and claudin-2. In this study, we show that the proprotein convertase furin, involved in proteolytic maturation of proprotein substrates including LPH and cell surface proteins, is a CDX2 target. Indeed, expression of the rat furin homolog was induced 1.5-fold, as determined by microarray experiments that compared control with CDX2-expressing intestinal epithelial cells (IEC-6). As determined by transient transfection assays in Caco-2/15 cells, the furin P1 promoter 1.3-kb fragment between SacI and NheI was essential for CDX2 transcriptional activation. Electrophoretic mobility shift/supershift assays followed by site-specific mutagenesis and chromatin immunoprecipitation identified the CDX DNA-binding site (CBS)2 sequence from nt -1827 to -1821 as the major CBS involved in furin P1 promoter activation. Increased furin mRNA and protein expression correlated with both CDX2 expression and intestinal epithelial cell differentiation. In addition, furin mRNAs were detected predominantly in differentiated epithelial cells of the villus, as determined by in situ hybridization. Treatment of Caco-2/15 cells with a furin inhibitor led to inhibition of LPH activity. Morphological differentiation of enterocyte-like features in Caco-2/15 such as epithelial cell polarity and brush-border formation were strongly attenuated by furin inhibition. These results suggest that CDX2 regulates furin expression in intestinal epithelial cells. Furin may be important in modulating the maturation and/or activation of key factors involved in enterocyte differentiation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polarized exocytosis plays a major role in development and cell differentiation but the mechanisms that target exocytosis to specific membrane domains in animal cells are still poorly understood. We characterized Drosophila Sec6, a component of the exocyst complex that is believed to tether secretory vesicles to specific plasma membrane sites. sec6 mutations cause cell lethality and disrupt plasma membrane growth. In developing photoreceptor cells (PRCs), Sec6 but not Sec5 or Sec8 shows accumulation at adherens junctions. In late PRCs, Sec6, Sec5, and Sec8 colocalize at the rhabdomere, the light sensing subdomain of the apical membrane. PRCs with reduced Sec6 function accumulate secretory vesicles and fail to transport proteins to the rhabdomere, but show normal localization of proteins to the apical stalk membrane and the basolateral membrane. Furthermore, we show that Rab11 forms a complex with Sec5 and that Sec5 interacts with Sec6 suggesting that the exocyst is a Rab11 effector that facilitates protein transport to the apical rhabdomere in Drosophila PRCs.
The Journal of Cell Biology 06/2005; 169(4):635-46. · 10.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intestinal epithelial cell differentiation is a complex process in which many different signaling pathways are likely involved. An increase in the intracellular levels of cyclic AMP (cAMP) has been shown to inhibit enterocyte differentiation; however, the mechanisms through which cAMP/PKA signaling modulates differentiation of human intestinal epithelial cells are still not well understood. Herein, we report that: (1) treatment of Caco-2/15 cells with 8Br-cAMP repressed sucrase-isomaltase and villin protein expression and strongly attenuated morphological differentiation of enterocyte-like features in Caco-2/15 such as epithelial cell polarity and brush border formation; (2) treatment of confluent Caco-2/15 cells with 8Br-cAMP led to a strong decrease in F-actin localized at cell-cell contact sites along with a reduced amount of E-cadherin and catenins, but not of ZO-1, at cell-cell interfaces concomitant with a decreased association of these proteins with the actin cytoskeleton; (3) inhibition of PKA by H89 prevented disruption of adherens junctions by extracellular calcium depletion; (4) treatment of Caco-2/15 cells with 8Br-cAMP prevented the recruitment and activation of p85/PI-3K to E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell contacts, an important event in the assembly of adherens junctions and differentiation of these cells; (5) E-cadherin appears to be phosphorylated on serine in vivo in a PKA-dependent mechanism. Conclusion: Our studies show that cAMP/PKA signaling negatively regulates adherens junction integrity as well as morphological and functional differentiation of intestinal epithelial cells.
Journal of Cellular Physiology 02/2005; 202(1):178-90. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In vitro experiments have shown that the establishment of cell-cell contacts in intestinal epithelial cell cultures is a critical step in initiating ERK inhibition, cell cycle arrest, and induction of the differentiation process. Herein, we determined the mechanisms through which E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell contacts modulate the ERK pathway in intestinal epithelial cells. We report that: (1) removal of calcium from the culture medium of newly confluent Caco-2/15 cells (30 min, 4 mM EGTA) results in the disruption of both adherens and tight junctions and clearly decreases Akt phosphorylation while increasing MEK and ERK activities. Akt, MEK, and ERK activation levels return to control levels 60 min after calcium restoration; (2) the use of E-cadherin blocking antibodies efficiently prevents Akt phosphorylation and MEK-ERK inhibition after 70 min of calcium restoration; (3) using the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 (15 microM) in calcium switch experiments, we demonstrate that the assembly of adherens junctions activates Akt activity and triggers the inhibition of ERK1/2 activities in a PI3K-dependent manner; (4) adenoviral infection of confluent Caco-2/15 cells with a constitutively active mutant of Akt1 strongly represses ERK1/2 activities; (5) inhibition of PI3K abolishes Akt activity but leads to a rapid and sustained activation of the MEK-ERK1/2 in confluent differentiating Caco-2/15 cells, but not in undifferentiated growing Caco-2/15 cells. Our data suggest that E-cadherin engagement leads to MEK/ERK inhibition in a PI3K/Akt-dependent pathway. This mechanism may account for the role of E-cadherin in proliferation/differentiation transition along the crypt-villus axis of the human intestinal epithelium.
Journal of Cellular Physiology 05/2004; 199(1):32-9. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We and others have shown that phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) is recruited to and activated by E-cadherin engagement. This PI3K activation is essential for adherens junction integrity and intestinal epithelial cell differentiation. Here we provide evidence that hDlg, the homolog of disc-large tumor suppressor, is another key regulator of adherens junction integrity and differentiation in mammalian epithelial cells. We report the following. 1) hDlg co-localizes with E-cadherin, but not with ZO-1, at the sites of cell-cell contact in intestinal epithelial cells. 2) Reduction of hDlg expression levels by RNA(i) in intestinal cells not only severely alters adherens junction integrity but also prevents the recruitment of p85/PI3K to E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell contact and inhibits sucrase-isomaltase gene expression. 3) PI3K and hDlg are associated with E-cadherin in a common macromolecular complex in living differentiating intestinal cells. 4) This interaction requires the association of hDlg with E-cadherin and with Src homology domain 2 domains of the p85/PI3K subunit. 5) Phosphorylation of hDlg on serine and threonine residues prevents its interaction with the p85 Src homology domain 2 in subconfluent cells, whereas phosphorylation of hDlg on tyrosine residues is essential. We conclude that hDlg may be a determinant in E-cadherin-mediated adhesion and signaling in mammalian epithelial cells.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2004; 279(11):10157-66. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have shown previously that the promotion of myofiber survival by the basement membrane component merosin (laminin-2 [alpha2beta1gamma1]/laminin-4 [alpha2beta2gamma1]) is dependent on the activity of the tyrosine kinase Fyn, whereas myofiber anoikis induced by merosin deficiency is dependent on the stress-activated protein kinase p38alpha. To further understand such merosin-driven survival signaling, we analyzed the expression of five Bcl-2 homologs (Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), Bax, Bak, Bad) and one non-homologous associated molecule (Bag-1) in normal and merosin-deficient myotubes, with or without pharmacological inhibitors for Fyn and p38. Herein, we report that (1) merosin deficiency induces anoikis and causes decreased Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), and Bag-1 levels, increased Bax and Bak levels, and decreased Bad phosphorylation; (2) Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), Bag-1, and Bad phosphorylation are also decreased in anoikis-dying, Fyn-inhibited myotubes; (3) the inhibition of p38alpha in Fyn-inhibited and/or merosin-deficient myotubes protects against anoikis and increases Bcl-2 levels above normal, in addition to restoring Bad phosphorylation and Bag-1 levels to normal; (4) the overexpression of merosin in deficient myotubes also rescues from anoikis and increases Bcl-2 levels and Bad phosphorylation above normal, in addition to restoring Bcl-X(L), Bag-1, Bax, and Bak levels to normal; and (5) Bcl-2 overexpression is sufficient to rescue merosin-deficient myotubes from anoikis, even though the expression/phosphorylation levels of the other homologs analyzed are not restored to normal. These results indicate that merosin-driven myofiber survival signaling affects complex, differential modulations of individual Bcl-2 homologs. These further suggest that Bcl-2 can play a major role in suppressing myofiber anoikis.
Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 09/2003; 89(6):1115-25. · 3.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myofiber survival and suppression of anoikis depend in large part on the merosin (laminin-2/-4)-integrin alpha7beta1D cell adhesion system; however, the question remains as to the nature of the signaling molecules/pathways involved. In the present study, we investigated this question using the C2C12 cell model of myogenic differentiation and its merosin- and laminin-deficient derivatives. Herein, we report that: 1) of four members of the Src family of tyrosine kinases studied (p60Src, p53/56Lyn, p59Yes, or p60Fyn), the expression and activity of p60Fyn are found in myotubes exclusively; 2) a severe decrease of p60Fyn activity correlates with myotube apoptosis/anoikis induced by pharmocological compounds (herbimycin A or PP2) which inhibit tyrosine kinases of the Src family, by merosin deficiency and by beta1 integrin inhibition; 3) myoblast survival depends on Fak and the MEK/Erk pathway, in contrast to myotubes; 4) the PI3-K pathway is not involved in either myoblast or myotube survival; and 5) p38alpha SAPK stimulation and activity (but not that of p38beta) are required in the progression of myotube apoptosis/anoikis induced by p60Fyn inhibition, merosin deficiency or beta1 integrin-inhibition; however, p38 is not involved in myoblast apoptosis. Taken together, these results suggest that the promotion of myotube survival by the merosin-alpha7beta1D adhesion system involves p60Fyn, and that disruptions in this cell adhesion system induce myotube apoptosis/anoikis through a p38alpha SAPK-dependent pathway.
Journal of Cellular Physiology 05/2002; 191(1):69-81. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The signaling pathways mediating human intestinal epithelial cell differentiation remain largely undefined. Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) is an important modulator of extracellular signals, including those elicited by E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion, which plays an important role in maintenance of the structural and functional integrity of epithelia. In this study, we analyzed the involvement of PI3K in the differentiation of human intestinal epithelial cells. We showed that inhibition of PI3K signaling in Caco-2/15 cells repressed sucrase-isomaltase and villin protein expression. Morphological differentiation of enterocyte-like features in Caco-2/15 cells such as epithelial cell polarity and brush-border formation were strongly attenuated by PI3K inhibition. Immunofluorescence and immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that PI3K was recruited to and activated by E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell contacts in confluent Caco-2/15 cells, and this activation appears to be essential for the integrity of adherens junctions and association with the cytoskeleton. We provide evidence that the assembly of calcium-dependent adherens junctions led to a rapid and remarkable increase in the state of activation of Akt and p38 MAPK pathways and that this increase was blocked in the presence of anti-E-cadherin antibodies and PI3K inhibitor. Therefore, our results indicate that PI3K promotes assembly of adherens junctions, which, in turn, control p38 MAPK activation and enterocyte differentiation.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2002; 277(10):8226-34. · 4.65 Impact Factor