[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The morphometric parameters of epithelial tubes are critical to the physiology and homeostasis of most organs. In addition, many human diseases are associated with tube-size defects. Here, we show that Rac1 limits epithelial tube elongation in the developing fly trachea by promoting Rab5-dependent endocytosis of the apical determinant Crumbs. Rac1 is also involved in a positive feedback loop with the septate junction protein Coracle. Thereby, Rac1 precludes paracellular diffusion and contributes to the septate junction-dependent secretion of the chitin-modifying enzymes Vermiform and Serpentine, which restrict epithelial tube length independently of Crumbs. Thus, Rac1 is a critical component of two important pathways controlling epithelial tube morphogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human apical protein CRB3 (Crb3 in mouse) organizes epithelial cell polarity. Loss of CRB3 expression increases the tumorogenic potential of cultured epithelial cells and favors metastasis formation in nude mice. These data emphasize the need of in vivo models to study CRB3 functions. Here, we report the phenotypic analysis of a novel Crb3 knockout mouse model. Crb3-deficient newborn mice show improper clearance of airways, suffer from respiratory distress and display perinatal lethality. Crb3 is also essential to maintain apical membrane identity in kidney epithelial cells. Numerous kidney cysts accompany these polarity defects. Impaired differentiation of the apical membrane is also observed in a subset of cells of the intestinal epithelium. This results in improper remodeling of adhesive contacts in the developing intestinal epithelium, thereby leading to villus fusion. We also noted a strong increase in cytoplasmic β-catenin levels in intestinal epithelial cells. β-catenin is a mediator of the Wnt signaling pathway, which is overactivated in the majority of colon cancers. In addition to clarifying the physiologic roles of Crb3, our study highlights that further functional analysis of this protein is likely to provide insights into the etiology of diverse pathologies, including respiratory distress syndrome, polycystic kidney disease and cancer.
[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.
Preview · Article · Feb 2014 · The Journal of Cell Biology
[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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colocalization of deIF4E with dFMRP granules. Schneider cells were transfected with either GFP or GFP-dFMRP constructs for 48 h. Cells were then fixed and then processed for immunofluorescence to detect GFP or GFP-dFMRP (green). The intracellular localization of endogenous deIF4E (red) is revealed using antibodies specific to deIF4E. Scale bars are indicated.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dynamics of GFP-hFMRP in SG by FRAP. (A–B) HeLa cells were transfected with GFP-hFMRP. Forty-eight h posttransfection, cells were treated with arsenite for 0.5 h. A single SG (red circle; indicated by arrow) was photobleached (A) and fluorescence recovery was recorded over 140 s (B) using confocal microscopy as described in Fig. 6. Scale bars are indicated.
[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.
Preview · Article · Sep 2012 · The Journal of Cell Biology
[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.
Preview · Article · Oct 2011 · Journal of Cell Science
[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.
Preview · Article · Sep 2011 · BioMed Research International
[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.
No preview · Article · Apr 2011 · Trends in cell biology
[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.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · Current biology: CB
[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.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2006 · Developmental Cell
[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.
No preview · Article · Mar 2006 · AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
[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.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2005 · The Journal of Cell Biology
[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.
No preview · Article · Feb 2005 · Journal of Cellular Physiology