Jiang T, McKinley RF, McGill MA, Angers S, Harris TJ
Curr. Biol. 2015 Oct;25(20):2701-8
To form regulated barriers between body compartments, epithelial cells polarize into apical and basolateral domains and assemble adherens junctions (AJs). Despite close links with polarity networks that generate single polarized domains, AJs distribute isotropically around the cell circumference for adhesion with all neighboring cells [1-3]. How AJs avoid the influence of polarity networks to maintain their isotropy has been unclear. In established epithelia, trans cadherin interactions could maintain AJ isotropy , but AJs are dynamic during epithelial development and remodeling [5, 6], and thus specific mechanisms may control their isotropy. In Drosophila, aPKC prevents hyper-polarization of junctions as epithelia develop from cellularization to gastrulation . Here, we show that aPKC does so by inhibiting a positive feedback loop between Bazooka (Baz)/Par-3, a junctional organizer [5, 8-10], and centrosomes. Without aPKC, Baz and centrosomes lose their isotropic distributions and recruit each other to single plasma membrane (PM) domains. Surprisingly, our loss- and gain-of-function analyses show that the Baz-centrosome positive feedback loop is driven by Par-1, a kinase known to phosphorylate Baz and inhibit its basolateral localization [8, 11, 12]. We find that Par-1 promotes the positive feedback loop through both centrosome microtubule effects and Baz phosphorylation. Normally, aPKC attenuates the circuit by expelling Par-1 from the apical domain at gastrulation. The combination of local activation and global inhibition is a common polarization strategy [13-16]. Par-1 seems to couple both effects for a potent Baz polarization mechanism that is regulated for the isotropy of Baz and AJs around the cell circumference.