Germ Cell Segregation from the Drosophila Soma Is Controlled by an Inhibitory Threshold Set by the Arf-GEF Steppke

Lee DM, Wilk R, Hu J, Krause HM, Harris TJ

Genetics 2015 Jul;200(3):863-72

PMID: 25971667

Abstract

Germline cells segregate from the soma to maintain their totipotency, but the cellular mechanisms of this segregation are unclear. The Drosophila melanogaster embryo forms a posterior group of primordial germline cells (PGCs) by their division from the syncytial soma. Extended plasma membrane furrows enclose the PGCs in response to the germ plasm protein Germ cell-less (Gcl) and Rho1-actomyosin activity. Recently, we found that loss of the Arf-GEF Steppke (Step) leads to similar Rho1-dependent plasma membrane extensions but from pseudocleavage furrows of the soma. Here, we report that the loss of step also leads to premature formation of a large cell group at the anterior pole of the embryo . These anterior cells lacked germ plasm, but budded and formed at the same time as posterior PGCs, and then divided asynchronously as PGCs also do. With genetic analyses we found that Step normally activates Arf small G proteins and antagonizes Rho1-actomyosin pathways to inhibit anterior cell formation. A uniform distribution of step mRNA around the one-cell embryo cortex suggested that Step restricts cell formation through a global control mechanism. Thus, we examined the effect of Step on PGC formation at the posterior pole. Reducing Gcl or Rho1 levels decreased PGC numbers, but additional step RNAi restored their numbers. Reciprocally, GFP-Step overexpression induced dosage- and Arf-GEF-dependent loss of PGCs, an effect worsened by reducing Gcl or actomyosin pathway activity. We propose that a global distribution of Step normally sets an inhibitory threshold for Rho1 activity to restrict early cell formation to the posterior.

Polarized E-cadherin endocytosis directs actomyosin remodeling during embryonic wound repair

Hunter MV, Lee DM, Harris TJ, Fernandez-Gonzalez R

J. Cell Biol. 2015 Aug;210(5):801-16

PMID: 26304727

Abstract

Embryonic epithelia have a remarkable ability to rapidly repair wounds. A supracellular actomyosin cable around the wound coordinates cellular movements and promotes wound closure. Actomyosin cable formation is accompanied by junctional rearrangements at the wound margin. We used in vivo time-lapse quantitative microscopy to show that clathrin, dynamin, and the ADP-ribosylation factor 6, three components of the endocytic machinery, accumulate around wounds in Drosophila melanogaster embryos in a process that requires calcium signaling and actomyosin contractility. Blocking endocytosis with pharmacological or genetic approaches disrupted wound repair. The defect in wound closure was accompanied by impaired removal of E-cadherin from the wound edge and defective actomyosin cable assembly. E-cadherin overexpression also resulted in reduced actin accumulation around wounds and slower wound closure. Reducing E-cadherin levels in embryos in which endocytosis was blocked rescued actin localization to the wound margin. Our results demonstrate a central role for endocytosis in wound healing and indicate that polarized E-cadherin endocytosis is necessary for actomyosin remodeling during embryonic wound repair.

A Par-1-Par-3-Centrosome Cell Polarity Pathway and Its Tuning for Isotropic Cell Adhesion

Jiang T, McKinley RF, McGill MA, Angers S, Harris TJ

Curr. Biol. 2015 Oct;25(20):2701-8

PMID: 26455305

Abstract

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 [4], 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 [7]. 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.