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1.  Fuz Regulates Craniofacial Development through Tissue Specific Responses to Signaling Factors 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24608.
The planar cell polarity effector gene Fuz regulates ciliogenesis and Fuz loss of function studies reveal an array of embryonic phenotypes. However, cilia defects can affect many signaling pathways and, in humans, cilia defects underlie several craniofacial anomalies. To address this, we analyzed the craniofacial phenotype and signaling responses of the Fuz−/− mice. We demonstrate a unique role for Fuz in regulating both Hedgehog (Hh) and Wnt/β-catenin signaling during craniofacial development. Fuz expression first appears in the dorsal tissues and later in ventral tissues and craniofacial regions during embryonic development coincident with cilia development. The Fuz−/− mice exhibit severe craniofacial deformities including anophthalmia, agenesis of the tongue and incisors, a hypoplastic mandible, cleft palate, ossification/skeletal defects and hyperplastic malformed Meckel's cartilage. Hh signaling is down-regulated in the Fuz null mice, while canonical Wnt signaling is up-regulated revealing the antagonistic relationship of these two pathways. Meckel's cartilage is expanded in the Fuz−/− mice due to increased cell proliferation associated with the up-regulation of Wnt canonical target genes and decreased non-canonical pathway genes. Interestingly, cilia development was decreased in the mandible mesenchyme of Fuz null mice, suggesting that cilia may antagonize Wnt signaling in this tissue. Furthermore, expression of Fuz decreased expression of Wnt pathway genes as well as a Wnt-dependent reporter. Finally, chromatin IP experiments demonstrate that β-catenin/TCF-binding directly regulates Fuz expression. These data demonstrate a new model for coordination of Hh and Wnt signaling and reveal a Fuz-dependent negative feedback loop controlling Wnt/β-catenin signaling.
PMCID: PMC3173472  PMID: 21935430
2.  Control of vertebrate intraflagellar transport by the planar cell polarity effector Fuz 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2012;198(1):37-45.
The planar cell polarity effector Fuz is required for normal particle dynamics of the intraflagellar transport system, specifically in the retrograde transport of proteins.
Cilia play key roles in development and homeostasis, and defects in cilia structure or function lead to an array of human diseases. Ciliogenesis is accomplished by the intraflagellar transport (IFT) system, a set of proteins governing bidirectional transport of cargoes within ciliary axonemes. In this paper, we present a novel platform for in vivo analysis of vertebrate IFT dynamics. Using this platform, we show that the planar cell polarity (PCP) effector Fuz was required for normal IFT dynamics in vertebrate cilia, the first evidence directly linking PCP to the core machinery of ciliogenesis. Further, we show that Fuz played a specific role in trafficking of retrograde, but not anterograde, IFT proteins. These data place Fuz in the small group of known IFT effectors outside the core machinery and, additionally, identify Fuz as a novel cytoplasmic effector that differentiates between the retrograde and anterograde IFT complexes.
PMCID: PMC3392940  PMID: 22778277
3.  Wdpcp, a PCP Protein Required for Ciliogenesis, Regulates Directional Cell Migration and Cell Polarity by Direct Modulation of the Actin Cytoskeleton 
PLoS Biology  2013;11(11):e1001720.
Wdpcp, a protein required for both planar cell polarity and ciliogenesis, regulates cell polarity and alignment via direct modulation of the actin cytoskeleton.
Planar cell polarity (PCP) regulates cell alignment required for collective cell movement during embryonic development. This requires PCP/PCP effector proteins, some of which also play essential roles in ciliogenesis, highlighting the long-standing question of the role of the cilium in PCP. Wdpcp, a PCP effector, was recently shown to regulate both ciliogenesis and collective cell movement, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. Here we show Wdpcp can regulate PCP by direct modulation of the actin cytoskeleton. These studies were made possible by recovery of a Wdpcp mutant mouse model. Wdpcp-deficient mice exhibit phenotypes reminiscent of Bardet–Biedl/Meckel–Gruber ciliopathy syndromes, including cardiac outflow tract and cochlea defects associated with PCP perturbation. We observed Wdpcp is localized to the transition zone, and in Wdpcp-deficient cells, Sept2, Nphp1, and Mks1 were lost from the transition zone, indicating Wdpcp is required for recruitment of proteins essential for ciliogenesis. Wdpcp is also found in the cytoplasm, where it is localized in the actin cytoskeleton and in focal adhesions. Wdpcp interacts with Sept2 and is colocalized with Sept2 in actin filaments, but in Wdpcp-deficient cells, Sept2 was lost from the actin cytoskeleton, suggesting Wdpcp is required for Sept2 recruitment to actin filaments. Significantly, organization of the actin filaments and focal contacts were markedly changed in Wdpcp-deficient cells. This was associated with decreased membrane ruffling, failure to establish cell polarity, and loss of directional cell migration. These results suggest the PCP defects in Wdpcp mutants are not caused by loss of cilia, but by direct disruption of the actin cytoskeleton. Consistent with this, Wdpcp mutant cochlea has normal kinocilia and yet exhibits PCP defects. Together, these findings provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, that a PCP component required for ciliogenesis can directly modulate the actin cytoskeleton to regulate cell polarity and directional cell migration.
Author Summary
Cilia are microscopic cell surface hair-like protrusions that can act as antennae to mediate cell signaling. Mutations disrupting ciliogenesis can cause many developmental anomalies associated with syndromes known as “ciliopathies.” Some developmental defects, such as limb polydactyly, arise from disruption of cilia-transduced sonic hedgehog signaling, while other defects, such as aberrant patterning of hair cells in the inner ear, arise from disrupted Wnt signaling resulting in modulation of planar cell polarity (PCP)—a process whereby cells are polarized and aligned. While ciliopathy phenotypes would suggest that cilia are involved in modulating PCP, the mechanistic link between cilia and PCP has been elusive. Our study using a mouse model carrying a mutation in Wdpcp, a gene required for both ciliogenesis and PCP, suggest that Wdpcp modulation of PCP involves interactions with the actin cytoskeleton separate from its function in ciliogenesis. We observe Wdpcp localization in cilia, where it is required for recruitment of proteins essential for ciliogenesis. Wdpcp interacts with Sept2, and is also found in actin filaments, where it regulates actin dynamics essential for PCP. Together, these findings show that PCP regulation by Wdpcp is distinct from its function in ciliogenesis and involves direct modulation of the actin cytoskeleton.
PMCID: PMC3841097  PMID: 24302887
4.  Planar cell polarity effector gene Intu regulates cell fate-specific differentiation of keratinocytes through the primary cilia 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2012;20(1):130-138.
Genes involved in the planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling pathway are essential for a number of developmental processes in mammals, such as convergent extension and ciliogenesis. Tissue-specific PCP effector genes of the PCP signaling pathway are believed to mediate PCP signals in a tissue- and cell type-specific manner. However, how PCP signaling controls the morphogenesis of mammalian tissues remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the role of inturned (Intu), a tissue-specific PCP effector gene, during hair follicle formation in mice. Tissue-specific disruption of Intu in embryonic epidermis resulted in hair follicle morphogenesis arrest because of the failure of follicular keratinocyte to differentiate. Targeting Intu in the epidermis resulted in almost complete loss of primary cilia in epidermal and follicular keratinocytes, and a suppressed hedgehog signaling pathway. Surprisingly, the epidermal stratification and differentiation programs and barrier function were not affected. These results demonstrate that tissue-specific PCP effector genes of the PCP signaling pathway control the differentiation of keratinocytes through the primary cilia in a cell fate- and context-dependent manner, which may be critical in orchestrating the propagation and interpretation of polarity signals established by the core PCP components.
PMCID: PMC3524640  PMID: 22935613
Planar cell polarity; Intu; cilia; keratinocyte; epidermis; hair follicle
5.  The PCP effector Fuzzy controls cilial assembly and signaling by recruiting Rab8 and Dishevelled to the primary cilium 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(5):555-565.
During vertebrate development, the PCP pathway controls multiple cellular processes. Loss of the gene for the PCP effector Fuzzy affects formation of primary cilia via mostly unknown mechanisms. We report that Fuzzy localizes to the primary cilia and orchestrates delivery of Rab8 and Dishevelled to the primary cilium; loss of Fuzzy affects cilia-dependent signaling.
The planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway controls multiple cellular processes during vertebrate development. Recently the PCP pathway was implicated in ciliogenesis and in ciliary function. The primary cilium is an apically projecting solitary organelle that is generated via polarized intracellular trafficking. Because it acts as a signaling nexus, defects in ciliogenesis or cilial function cause multiple congenital anomalies in vertebrates. Loss of the PCP effector Fuzzy affects PCP signaling and formation of primary cilia; however, the mechanisms underlying these processes are largely unknown. Here we report that Fuzzy localizes to the basal body and ciliary axoneme and is essential for ciliogenesis by delivering Rab8 to the basal body and primary cilium. Fuzzy appears to control subcellular localization of the core PCP protein Dishevelled, recruiting it to Rab8-positive vesicles and to the basal body and cilium. We show that loss of Fuzzy results in inhibition of PCP signaling and hyperactivation of the canonical WNT pathway. We propose a mechanism by which Fuzzy participates in ciliogenesis and affects both canonical WNT and PCP signaling.
PMCID: PMC3583660  PMID: 23303251
6.  The Small GTPase Rsg1 is important for the cytoplasmic localization and axonemal dynamics of intraflagellar transport proteins 
Cilia  2013;2:13.
Cilia are small, microtubule-based protrusions important for development and homeostasis. We recently demonstrated that the planar cell polarity effector protein Fuz is a critical regulator of axonemal intraflagellar transport dynamics and localization. Here, we report our findings on the role of the small GTPase Rsg1, a known binding partner of Fuz, and its role in the dynamics and cytoplasmic localization of intraflagellar transport proteins.
We find that Rsg1 loss of function leads to impaired axonemal IFT dynamics in multiciliated cells. We further show that Rsg1 is required for appropriate cytoplasmic localization of the retrograde IFT-A protein IFT43. Finally, we show that Rsg1 governs the apical localization of basal bodies, the anchoring structures of cilia.
Our data suggest that Rsg1 is a regulator of multiple aspects of ciliogenesis, including apical trafficking of basal bodies and the localization and dynamics intraflagellar transport proteins.
PMCID: PMC3850895  PMID: 24192041
Cilia; Fuz; IFT; PCP; Rsg1
7.  Genome-Wide RNAi Screen Identifies Novel Host Proteins Required for Alphavirus Entry 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(12):e1003835.
The enveloped alphaviruses include important and emerging human pathogens such as Chikungunya virus and Eastern equine encephalitis virus. Alphaviruses enter cells by clathrin-mediated endocytosis, and exit by budding from the plasma membrane. While there has been considerable progress in defining the structure and function of the viral proteins, relatively little is known about the host factors involved in alphavirus infection. We used a genome-wide siRNA screen to identify host factors that promote or inhibit alphavirus infection in human cells. Fuzzy homologue (FUZ), a protein with reported roles in planar cell polarity and cilia biogenesis, was required for the clathrin-dependent internalization of both alphaviruses and the classical endocytic ligand transferrin. The tetraspanin membrane protein TSPAN9 was critical for the efficient fusion of low pH-triggered virus with the endosome membrane. FUZ and TSPAN9 were broadly required for infection by the alphaviruses Sindbis virus, Semliki Forest virus, and Chikungunya virus, but were not required by the structurally-related flavivirus Dengue virus. Our results highlight the unanticipated functions of FUZ and TSPAN9 in distinct steps of alphavirus entry and suggest novel host proteins that may serve as targets for antiviral therapy.
Author Summary
Alphaviruses are a group of small enveloped viruses that include important human pathogens for which there are no antiviral therapies or vaccines. Alphaviruses enter host cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis and low pH-triggered membrane fusion, and exit by budding from the host cell plasma membrane. The roles of host cell proteins in these events are not well understood in spite of extensive studies. Here we performed a screen using small interfering RNAs to identify host factors involved in alphavirus infection of human cells. We defined the mechanism of two novel host proteins that promote alphavirus entry. Fuzzy homologue (FUZ), a protein with roles in cilia biogenesis, promoted endocytosis of both alphaviruses and a well-studied endocytic cargo, transferrin. The tetraspanin membrane protein, TSPAN9, did not significantly affect endocytic uptake or acidification, but was critical for the efficient fusion of the virus in the endosome. These two proteins were required for infection by several different alphaviruses, suggesting that they may be useful targets for drugs to prevent alphavirus infection.
PMCID: PMC3868536  PMID: 24367265
8.  Microtubules Enable the Planar Cell Polarity of Airway Cilia 
Current biology : CB  2012;22(23):2203-2212.
Airway cilia must be physically oriented along the longitudinal tissue axis for concerted, directional motility that is essential for proper mucociliary clearance.
We show that Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) signaling specifies directionality and orients respiratory cilia. Within all airway epithelial cells a conserved set of PCP proteins shows interdependent, asymmetric junctional localization; non-autonomous signaling coordinates polarization between cells; and a polarized microtubule (MT) network is likely required for asymmetric PCP protein localization. We find that basal bodies dock after polarity of PCP proteins is established, are polarized nearly simultaneously, and refinement of basal body/cilium orientation continues during airway epithelial development. Unique to mature multiciliated cells, we identify PCP-regulated, planar polarized MTs that originate from basal bodies and interact, via their plus ends, with membrane domains associated with the PCP proteins Frizzled and Dishevelled. Disruption of MTs leads to misoriented cilia.
A conserved PCP pathway orients airway cilia by communicating polarity information from asymmetric membrane domains at the apical junctions, through MTs, to orient the MT and actin based network of ciliary basal bodies below the apical surface.
PMCID: PMC3518597  PMID: 23122850
9.  Flattop regulates basal body docking and positioning in mono- and multiciliated cells 
eLife  2014;3:e03842.
Planar cell polarity (PCP) regulates basal body (BB) docking and positioning during cilia formation, but the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In this study, we investigate the uncharacterized gene Flattop (Fltp) that is transcriptionally activated during PCP acquisition in ciliated tissues. Fltp knock-out mice show BB docking and ciliogenesis defects in multiciliated lung cells. Furthermore, Fltp is necessary for kinocilium positioning in monociliated inner ear hair cells. In these cells, the core PCP molecule Dishevelled 2, the BB/spindle positioning protein Dlg3, and Fltp localize directly adjacent to the apical plasma membrane, physically interact and surround the BB at the interface of the microtubule and actin cytoskeleton. Dlg3 and Fltp knock-outs suggest that both cooperatively translate PCP cues for BB positioning in the inner ear. Taken together, the identification of novel BB/spindle positioning components as potential mediators of PCP signaling might have broader implications for other cell types, ciliary disease, and asymmetric cell division.
eLife digest
Epithelial tissues are sheets of cells that line the surface of many parts of the body, including the airways and the inner ear. Small hair-like structures called cilia can be found on the top surface of many epithelial cells and are arranged in a precise, ordered pattern. Such patterning ensures that cilia can work in a co-ordinated manner, for example by beating together to help clearing mucus from airways.
Cilia grow out from ‘basal bodies’ and, like many other important structures in a cell, these basal bodies must be oriented along the correct side of an epithelial tissue. This is achieved by ‘planar cell polarity signaling’, which makes sure that the structures inside a cell are correctly aligned, and ensures that polarized cells themselves are correctly oriented across the epithelial tissue. Disruption of this signaling can result in developmental defects.
Some proteins help to establish polarity in a cell by altering the cell's cytoskeleton—the structural support and transport network of the cell. A ‘core’ complex of proteins then coordinates how the cells are arranged throughout the epithelial tissue. Although many of the proteins involved in each of these roles are known, how they interact with each other to establish planar cell polarity remains poorly understood.
Now, Gegg et al. report that, in mice, a protein called Flattop functions to position basal bodies—and thus cilia—by working together with another protein called Dlg3. In mice that cannot produce Flattop, cilia formation is defective in the lung, and the cilia in the inner ear are positioned incorrectly. Gegg et al. found that in the inner ear, Flattop and Dlg3 physically interact with each other and two other proteins—including one of the core proteins involved in planar cell polarity. This protein complex then surrounds the basal bodies at the point where they connect to the cell's cytoskeleton.
Future challenges will be to clarify how the protein complex anchors to the cytoskeleton and how it interacts with other core planar cell polarity proteins in the cells of the inner ear. It will also be important to see whether this protein complex fulfills a similar role in other ciliated epithelial tissues.
PMCID: PMC4221739  PMID: 25296022
basal body; spindle positioning; planar cell polarity; actin; microtubule; Flattop; mouse
10.  Mating and Pathogenic Development of the Smut Fungus Ustilago maydis Are Regulated by One Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Cascade 
Eukaryotic Cell  2003;2(6):1187-1199.
In the phytopathogenic fungus Ustilago maydis, pheromone-mediated cell fusion is a prerequisite for the generation of the infectious dikaryon. The pheromone signal elevates transcription of the pheromone genes and elicits formation of conjugation hyphae. Cyclic AMP and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling are involved in this process. The MAPK cascade is presumed to be composed of Ubc4 (MAPK kinase kinase), Fuz7 (MAPK kinase), and Ubc3/Kpp2 (MAPK). We isolated the kpp4 gene and found it to be allelic to ubc4. Epistasis analyses with constitutively active alleles of kpp4 and fuz7 substantiate that Kpp4, Fuz7, and Kpp2/Ubc3 are components of the same module. Moreover, we demonstrate that Fuz7 activates Kpp2 and shows interactions in vitro. Signaling via this cascade regulates expression of pheromone-responsive genes, presumably through acting on the transcription factor Prf1. Interestingly, the same cascade is needed for conjugation tube formation, and this process does not involve Prf1. In addition, fuz7 as well as kpp4 deletion strains are nonpathogenic, while kpp2 deletion mutants are only attenuated in pathogenesis. Here we show that strains expressing the unphosphorylatable allele kpp2T182A/Y184F are severely affected in tumor induction and display defects in early infection-related differentiation.
PMCID: PMC326639  PMID: 14665454
11.  The Drosophila Homologue of the Amyloid Precursor Protein Is a Conserved Modulator of Wnt PCP Signaling 
PLoS Biology  2013;11(5):e1001562.
The Drosophila homolog of the Alzheimer's disease protein APP, known as APPL, regulates axon growth during brain development.
Wnt Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) signaling is a universal regulator of polarity in epithelial cells, but it regulates axon outgrowth in neurons, suggesting the existence of axonal modulators of Wnt-PCP activity. The Amyloid precursor proteins (APPs) are intensely investigated because of their link to Alzheimer's disease (AD). APP's in vivo function in the brain and the mechanisms underlying it remain unclear and controversial. Drosophila possesses a single APP homologue called APP Like, or APPL. APPL is expressed in all neurons throughout development, but has no established function in neuronal development. We therefore investigated the role of Drosophila APPL during brain development. We find that APPL is involved in the development of the Mushroom Body αβ neurons and, in particular, is required cell-autonomously for the β-axons and non-cell autonomously for the α-axons growth. Moreover, we find that APPL is a modulator of the Wnt-PCP pathway required for axonal outgrowth, but not cell polarity. Molecularly, both human APP and fly APPL form complexes with PCP receptors, thus suggesting that APPs are part of the membrane protein complex upstream of PCP signaling. Moreover, we show that APPL regulates PCP pathway activation by modulating the phosphorylation of the Wnt adaptor protein Dishevelled (Dsh) by Abelson kinase (Abl). Taken together our data suggest that APPL is the first example of a modulator of the Wnt-PCP pathway specifically required for axon outgrowth.
Author Summary
Wnt Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) signaling is a universal regulator of polarity in epithelial cells, but in neurons it regulates axon outgrowth, suggesting the existence of axonal modulators of Wnt-PCP activity. The Amyloid Precursor Proteins (APPs) are intensely investigated because of their link to Alzheimer's disease (AD). APP's in vivo function in the brain and the mechanisms underlying it remain unclear and controversial. In the present work we investigate the role of the Drosophila neuron-specific APP homologue, called APPL, during brain development. We find that APPL is required for the development of αβ neurons in the mushroom body, a structure critical for learning and memory. We find that APPL is a modulator of the Wnt-PCP pathway required for axonal outgrowth, but not for cell polarity. Molecularly, both human APP and fly APPL are found in membrane complexes with PCP receptors. Moreover, we show that APPL regulates PCP pathway activation through its downstream effector Abelson kinase (Abl), which modulates the phosphorylation of the Wnt adaptor protein Dishevelled (Dsh) and the subsequent activation of Wnt-PCP signaling. Taken together our data suggest that APPL is the first example of a neuron-specific modulator of the Wnt-PCP pathway.
PMCID: PMC3653798  PMID: 23690751
12.  Drosophila CK1-γ, gilgamesh, controls PCP-mediated morphogenesis through regulation of vesicle trafficking 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2012;196(5):605-621.
CK1-γ/gilgamesh spatially limits the planar cell polarity–regulated process of trichome formation in Drosophila through its effect on polarized vesicle recycling.
Cellular morphogenesis, including polarized outgrowth, promotes tissue shape and function. Polarized vesicle trafficking has emerged as a fundamental mechanism by which protein and membrane can be targeted to discrete subcellular domains to promote localized protrusions. Frizzled (Fz)/planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling orchestrates cytoskeletal polarization and drives morphogenetic changes in such contexts as the vertebrate body axis and external Drosophila melanogaster tissues. Although regulation of Fz/PCP signaling via vesicle trafficking has been identified, the interplay between the vesicle trafficking machinery and downstream terminal PCP-directed processes is less established. In this paper, we show that Drosophila CK1-γ/gilgamesh (gish) regulates the PCP-associated process of trichome formation through effects on Rab11-mediated vesicle recycling. Although the core Fz/PCP proteins dictate prehair formation broadly, CK1-γ/gish restricts nucleation to a single site. Moreover, CK1-γ/gish works in parallel with the Fz/PCP effector multiple wing hairs, which restricts prehair formation along the perpendicular axis to Gish. Our findings suggest that polarized Rab11-mediated vesicle trafficking regulated by CK1-γ is required for PCP-directed processes.
PMCID: PMC3307696  PMID: 22391037
13.  Antagonistic Functions of Dishevelleds Regulate Frizzled3 Endocytosis via Filopodia Tips in Wnt-Mediated Growth Cone Guidance 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2013;33(49):19071-19085.
How growth cones detect small concentration differences of guidance cues for correct steering remains a long-standing puzzle. Commissural axons engage planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling components to turn anteriorly in a Wnt gradient after midline crossing. We found here that Frizzled3, a Wnt receptor, undergoes endocytosis via filopodia tips. Wnt5a increases Frizzled3 endocytosis, which correlates with filopodia elongation. We discovered an unexpected antagonism between Dishevelleds, which may function as a signal amplification mechanism in filopodia where PCP signaling is activated: Dishevelled2 blocks Dishevelled1-induced Frizzled3 hyperphosphorylation and membrane accumulation. A key component of apical-basal polarity (A-BP) signaling, aPKC, also inhibits Dishevelled1-induced Frizzled3 hyperphosphorylation. Celsr3, another PCP component, is required in commissural neurons for anterior turning. Frizzled3 hyperphosphorylation is increased in Celsr3 mutant mice, where PCP signaling is impaired, suggesting Frizzled3 hyperphosphorylation does correlate with loss of PCP signaling in vivo. Furthermore, we found that the small GTPase, Arf6, which is required for Frizzled3 endocytosis, is essential for Wnt-promoted outgrowth, highlighting the importance of Frizzled3 recycling in PCP signaling in growth cone guidance. In a Wnt5a gradient, more Frizzled3 endocytosis and activation of atypical protein kinase C was observed on the side of growth cones facing higher Wnt5a concentration, suggesting that spatially controlled Frizzled3 endocytosis is part of the key mechanism for growth cone steering.
PMCID: PMC3850035  PMID: 24305805
14.  Fuz1, a MYND domain protein, is required for cell morphogenesis in Ustilago maydis 
Mycologia  2008;100(1):31-46.
Ustilago maydis is a Basidiomycete fungus that exhibits a yeast-like nonpathogenic form and a dikaryotic filamentous pathogenic form. Generation of these two forms is controlled by two mating type loci, a and b. The fungus undergoes additional morphological transitions in the plant that result in formation of a third cell type, the teliospore. The fuz1 gene is necessary for this developmental program. Here we report cloning and sequencing of fuz1 and show that it contains an open reading frame with coding capacity for a protein of 1421 amino acids. The Fuz1 protein belongs to the family of MYND Zn finger domain proteins. We generate a null mutation in strains of opposite mating type and show that fuz1 is necessary for conjugation tube formation, a morphological transition that occurs in response to pheromones. We generate fuz1− diploid strains heterozygous at a and b and show that fuz1 is also necessary for postfusion events (maintenance of filamentous growth). We also demonstrate that fuz1 is necessary for cell morphogenesis of the yeast-like cell: normal cell length, location and number of septa, cell separation and constriction of the neck region. Fuz1 is also required for cell wall integrity and to prevent secretion of a dark pigment. We propose that the MYND domain may interact with different proteins to regulate cell morphogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2556375  PMID: 18488351
cell separation; conjugation tube; filamentous growth; pigment production; septum location
15.  Dishevelled controls apical docking and planar polarization of basal bodies in ciliated epithelial cells 
Nature genetics  2008;40(7):871-879.
The planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling system governs many aspects of polarized cell behavior. Here, we use an in vivo model of vertebrate mucociliary epithelial development to show that Dishevelled (Dvl) is essential for the apical positioning of basal bodies. We find that Dvl and Inturned mediate the activation of the Rho GTPase specifically at basal bodies, and that these three proteins together mediate the docking of basal bodies to the apical plasma membrane. Moreover, we find that the docking involves a Dvl-dependent association of basal bodies with membrane-bound vesicles and with the vesicle-trafficking protein, Sec8. Once docked, Dvl and Rho are once again required for the planar polarization of basal bodies that underlies directional beating of cilia. These results demonstrate novel functions for PCP signaling components and suggest that a common signaling appratus governs both apical docking and planar polarization of basal bodies.
PMCID: PMC2771675  PMID: 18552847
16.  Serrano (Sano) Functions with the Planar Cell Polarity Genes to Control Tracheal Tube Length 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(11):e1000746.
Epithelial tubes are the functional units of many organs, and proper tube geometry is crucial for organ function. Here, we characterize serrano (sano), a novel cytoplasmic protein that is apically enriched in several tube-forming epithelia in Drosophila, including the tracheal system. Loss of sano results in elongated tracheae, whereas Sano overexpression causes shortened tracheae with reduced apical boundaries. Sano overexpression during larval and pupal stages causes planar cell polarity (PCP) defects in several adult tissues. In Sano-overexpressing pupal wing cells, core PCP proteins are mislocalized and prehairs are misoriented; sano loss or overexpression in the eye disrupts ommatidial polarity and rotation. Importantly, Sano binds the PCP regulator Dishevelled (Dsh), and loss or ectopic expression of many known PCP proteins in the trachea gives rise to similar defects observed with loss or gain of sano, revealing a previously unrecognized role for PCP pathway components in tube size control.
Author Summary
Tubular organ formation is a ubiquitous process required to sustain life in multicellular organisms. In this study, we focused on the tracheal system of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and identified Serrano (Sano) as a novel protein expressed in several embryonic tubular organs, including trachea. sano loss results in over-elongated trachea, whereas Sano overexpression causes shortened trachea, suggesting that sano is required for proper tracheal tube length. Interestingly, Sano overexpression results in typical planar cell polarity (PCP) defects in many adult tissues and pupal wing cells. The PCP pathway is highly conserved from flies to mammals and it has been known to control cell polarity within the plane of epithelial tissues. Importantly, we found that Sano binds Dishevelled (Dsh), a key PCP regulator, and loss or ectopic expression of many known PCP proteins in the trachea give rise to similar defects observed with loss or gain of sano, suggesting a new role for the PCP genes in tube length control. Interestingly, the changes in tube length and PCP defects in the wing were linked to changes in apical domain size, suggesting that Sano and the PCP components affect either membrane recycling and/or the linkage of the membrane to the cytoskeleton.
PMCID: PMC2776533  PMID: 19956736
17.  Two Frizzled Planar Cell Polarity Signals in the Drosophila Wing Are Differentially Organized by the Fat/Dachsous Pathway 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(2):e1001305.
The regular array of distally pointing hairs on the mature Drosophila wing is evidence for the fine control of Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) during wing development. Normal wing PCP requires both the Frizzled (Fz) PCP pathway and the Fat/Dachsous (Ft/Ds) pathway, although the functional relationship between these pathways remains under debate. There is strong evidence that the Fz PCP pathway signals twice during wing development, and we have previously presented a Bidirectional-Biphasic Fz PCP signaling model which proposes that the Early and Late Fz PCP signals are in different directions and employ different isoforms of the Prickle protein. The goal of this study was to investigate the role of the Ft/Ds pathway in the context of our Fz PCP signaling model. Our results allow us to draw the following conclusions: (1) The Early Fz PCP signals are in opposing directions in the anterior and posterior wing and converge precisely at the site of the L3 wing vein. (2) Increased or decreased expression of Ft/Ds pathway genes can alter the direction of the Early Fz PCP signal without affecting the Late Fz PCP signal. (3) Lowfat, a Ft/Ds pathway regulator, is required for the normal orientation of the Early Fz PCP signal but not the Late Fz PCP signal. (4) At the time of the Early Fz PCP signal there are symmetric gradients of dachsous (ds) expression centered on the L3 wing vein, suggesting Ds activity gradients may orient the Fz signal. (5) Localized knockdown or over-expression of Ft/Ds pathway genes shows that boundaries/gradients of Ft/Ds pathway gene expression can redirect the Early Fz PCP signal specifically. (6) Altering the timing of ds knockdown during wing development can separate the role of the Ft/Ds pathway in wing morphogenesis from its role in Early Fz PCP signaling.
Author Summary
Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) describes the orientation of a cell within the plane of a cell layer. The precise control of PCP has been shown to be vital for normal development in both vertebrates and invertebrates, and failures of PCP have been implicated in human disease. Studies in the fruit fly Drosophila have identified two genetic pathways, the Frizzled and Fat/Dachsous pathways, that are required to organize PCP, although the functional relationship between the two pathways remains unresolved. We have previously proposed a model of Frizzled pathway activity in the Drosophila wing that invokes two consecutive Frizzled signaling events oriented in different directions. The Early and Late Fz PCP signals use different isoforms of the Prickle protein. The goal of this study was to define the activity of the Fat/Dachsous pathway in the context of our Frizzled signaling model. Our results suggest that the Fat/Dachsous pathway has a different functional relationship with each of the Frizzled signaling events. Specifically, we find that by altering Fat/Dachsous pathway activity, we can reorient the Early Frizzled signal without affecting the Late Frizzled signal. This suggests that the functional relationship between the Fat/Dachsous pathway and the Frizzled pathway can vary, even between consecutive Frizzled signaling events within the same set of cells.
PMCID: PMC3040658  PMID: 21379328
18.  Planar Cell Polarity Pathway – Coordinating morphogenetic cell behaviors with embryonic polarity 
Developmental cell  2011;21(1):120-133.
Planar cell polarization entails establishment of cellular asymmetries within the tissue plane. An evolutionarily conserved Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) signaling system employs intra- and intercellular feedback interactions between its core components, including Frizzled, Van Gogh, Flamingo, Prickle and Dishevelled, to establish their characteristic asymmetric intracellular distributions and coordinate planar polarity of cell populations. By translating global patterning information into asymmetries of cell membranes and intracellular organelles, PCP signaling coordinates morphogenetic behaviors of individual cells and cell populations with the embryonic polarity. In vertebrates, by polarizing cilia in the node/Kupffer’s vesicle, PCP signaling links the anteroposterior to left-right embryonic polarity.
PMCID: PMC3166557  PMID: 21763613
19.  Casein kinase 1δ functions at the centrosome and Golgi to promote ciliogenesis 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(10):1629-1640.
CK1δ acts at the centrosome and Golgi to support polarized transport for ciliogenesis. It controls distribution of ciliary effectors Rab11, Rab8, CEP290, PCM1, and IFT20 and also promotes MT nucleation at the Golgi and positioning and integrity of the Golgi. Interaction of CK1δ with AKAP450 mediates Golgi MT nucleation and ciliogenesis.
Inhibition of casein kinase 1 delta (CK1δ) blocks primary ciliogenesis in human telomerase reverse transcriptase immortalized retinal pigmented epithelial and mouse inner medullary collecting duct cells-3. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and retinal cells from Csnk1d (CK1δ)-null mice also exhibit ciliogenesis defects. CK1δ catalytic activity and centrosomal localization signal (CLS) are required to rescue cilia formation in MEFsCsnk1d null. Furthermore, expression of a truncated derivative containing the CLS displaces full-length CK1δ from the centrosome and decreases ciliary length in control MEFs, suggesting that centrosomal CK1δ has a role in ciliogenesis. CK1δ inhibition also alters pericentrosomal or ciliary distribution of several proteins involved in ciliary transport, including Ras-like in rat brain-11A, Ras-like in rat brain-8A, centrosomal protein of 290 kDa, pericentriolar material protein 1, and polycystin-2, as well as the Golgi distribution of its binding partner, A-kinase anchor protein 450 (AKAP450). As reported for AKAP450, CK1δ was required for microtubule nucleation at the Golgi and maintenance of Golgi integrity. Overexpression of an AKAP450 fragment containing the CK1δ-binding site inhibits Golgi-derived microtubule nucleation, Golgi distribution of intraflagellar transport protein 20 homologue, and ciliogenesis. Our results suggest that CK1δ mediates primary ciliogenesis by multiple mechanisms, one involving its centrosomal function and another dependent on its interaction with AKAP450 at the Golgi, where it is important for maintaining Golgi organization and polarized trafficking of multiple factors that mediate ciliary transport.
PMCID: PMC4019494  PMID: 24648492
20.  The Drosophila F-box protein Fbxl7 binds to the protocadherin Fat and regulates Dachs localization and Hippo signaling 
eLife  2014;3:e03383.
The Drosophila protocadherin Fat (Ft) regulates growth, planar cell polarity (PCP) and proximodistal patterning. A key downstream component of Ft signaling is the atypical myosin Dachs (D). Multiple regions of the intracellular domain of Ft have been implicated in regulating growth and PCP but how Ft regulates D is not known. Mutations in Fbxl7, which encodes an F-box protein, result in tissue overgrowth and abnormalities in proximodistal patterning that phenocopy deleting a specific portion of the intracellular domain (ICD) of Ft that regulates both growth and PCP. Fbxl7 binds to this same portion of the Ft ICD, co-localizes with Ft to the proximal edge of cells and regulates the levels and asymmetry of D at the apical membrane. Fbxl7 can also regulate the trafficking of proteins between the apical membrane and intracellular vesicles. Thus Fbxl7 functions in a subset of pathways downstream of Ft and links Ft to D localization.
eLife digest
Multi-cellular organisms are made up of cells that are organized into tissues and organs that reach a predictable size and shape at the end of their development. To do this, cells must be able to sense their position and orientation within the body and know when to stop growing.
Epithelial cells—which make up the outer surface of an animal's body and line the cavities of its internal organs—connect to each other to form flat sheets. These sheets of cells contain structures that are oriented along the plane of the sheet. However, how this so-called ‘planar cell polarity’ coordinates with cell growth in order to build complex tissues and organs remains to be discovered.
A protein called Fat is a major player in both planar cell polarity and the Hippo signaling pathway, which controls cell growth. As such, the Fat protein appears to be crucial for controlling the size and shape of organs. Mutations in the Fat protein cause massive tissue overgrowth, prevent planar cell polarity being established correctly, and stop the legs and wings of fruit flies developing normally.
The Fat protein also plays a role in distributing another protein called Dachs—which is also part of the Hippo signaling pathway. In epithelial cells of the developing wing, Dachs is mostly located on the side of the cell that is closest to the tip of the developing wing (the so-called ‘distal surface’). How Fat and Dachs work together is not understood, but it is known that they do not bind to each other directly.
Now, Bosch et al. show that in the fruit fly Drosophila, the Fat protein binds to another protein called Fbxl7. Flies that cannot produce working Fbxl7 have defects in some aspects of planar cell polarity and a modest increase in tissue growth. Fbxl7 seems to account for part, but not all, of the ability of Fat to restrict tissue growth. Furthermore, a lack of the Fbxl7 protein results in a spreading of Dachs protein across the apical surface—which faces out of the epithelial sheet—of epithelial cells. On the other hand, if Fbxl7 is over-expressed, Dachs is driven to the interior of each cell. Hence, a normal level of Fbxl7 protein restricts the Dachs protein to the correct parts of the cell surface.
Together, the findings of Bosch et al. show that the Fbxl7 protein is a key link between the Fat and Dachs proteins. These results also provide an understanding of how growth and planar cell polarity—two processes that are essential for normal development of all multi-cellular organisms—are coordinated.
PMCID: PMC4144329  PMID: 25107277
Hippo pathway; cell proliferation; planar cell polarity; cadherin; vesicle; ubiquitin; D. melanogaster
21.  Planar cell polarity breaks the bilateral symmetry by controlling ciliary positioning 
Nature  2010;466(7304):378-382.
Defining the three body axes is a central event of vertebrate morphogenesis. Establishment of left-right (L-R) asymmetry in development follows the determination of dorsal-ventral (D-V) and anterior-posterior (A-P) body axes1,2, though the molecular mechanism underlying precise L-R symmetry breaking in reference to the other two axes is still poorly understood. Here by removing both Vangl1 and Vangl2, the two mouse homologues of a Drosophila core planar cell polarity (PCP) gene Van Gogh (Vang), we have uncovered a previously unappreciated function of PCP in initial breaking of lateral symmetry. The leftward nodal flow across the posterior notochord (PNC, also referred to as “the node”) has been identified as the earliest event in the de novo formation of L-R asymmetry3,4.We found that PCP is essential in interpreting the A-P patterning information and linking it to L-R asymmetry. In the absence of Vangl1 and Vangl2, cilia are positioned randomly around the center of the PNC cells and nodal flow is turbulent, which results in disrupted L-R asymmetry. Importantly, PCP in mouse, unlike what has been implicated in other vertebrate species, is not required for ciliogenesis, cilium motility, Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling or apical docking of basal bodies in ciliated tracheal epithelial cells. Our data suggest that PCP acts earlier than the unidirectional nodal flow during bilateral symmetry breaking in vertebrates and provide insight into the functional mechanism of PCP in organizing the vertebrate tissues in development.
PMCID: PMC3065171  PMID: 20562861
22.  Microtubules provide directional information for core PCP function 
eLife  2014;3:e02893.
Planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling controls the polarization of cells within the plane of an epithelium. Two molecular modules composed of Fat(Ft)/Dachsous(Ds)/Four-jointed(Fj) and a ‘PCP-core’ including Frizzled(Fz) and Dishevelled(Dsh) contribute to polarization of individual cells. How polarity is globally coordinated with tissue axes is unresolved. Consistent with previous results, we find that the Ft/Ds/Fj-module has an effect on a MT-cytoskeleton. Here, we provide evidence for the model that the Ft/Ds/Fj-module provides directional information to the core-module through this MT organizing function. We show Ft/Ds/Fj-dependent initial polarization of the apical MT-cytoskeleton prior to global alignment of the core-module, reveal that the anchoring of apical non-centrosomal MTs at apical junctions is polarized, observe that directional trafficking of vesicles containing Dsh depends on Ft, and demonstrate the feasibility of this model by mathematical simulation. Together, these results support the hypothesis that Ft/Ds/Fj provides a signal to orient core PCP function via MT polarization.
eLife digest
Almost all cells exhibit some sort of polarity: the epithelial cells that line the digestive tract, for example, have an apical domain, which faces out, and a basal domain, which faces the tissue underneath. Some epithelial cells also exhibit planar cell polarity: this involves key structures within the cell being oriented along an axis within the plane of an epithelium. Disruption of planar cell polarity is associated with various developmental defects.
It is known that the planar polarity of epithelial cells relies on two molecular complexes—a ‘core’ complex and a signaling complex called the Ft/Ds/Fj system—working together. While each of these complexes contributes to whole tissues having the correct polarity, the way they interact to achieve this is not fully understood.
Now, by studying epithelial cells in the wings of fruit flies, Matis et al. have provided evidence for a specific model for this interaction. The process starts with the Ft/Ds/Fj signaling complex, which orients structures called microtubules inside the cell. Microtubules are involved in providing structural support for cells, and also in the transport of organelles within cells.
Once the microtubules are oriented in the correct direction, they help to orient the core complex by moving some of the proteins that make up this complex in a specified direction. An important future challenge will be to understand how the proteins in the Ft/Ds/Fj system interact with microtubules to give them their orientation.
PMCID: PMC4151085  PMID: 25124458
planar cell polarity; fat cadherin; microtubules; D. melanogaster
23.  Fuz Mutant Mice Reveal Shared Mechanisms between Ciliopathies and FGF-Related Syndromes 
Developmental Cell  2013;25(6):623-635.
Ciliopathies are a broad class of human disorders with craniofacial dysmorphology as a common feature. Among these is high arched palate, a condition that affects speech and quality of life. Using the ciliopathic Fuz mutant mouse, we find that high arched palate does not, as commonly suggested, arise from midface hypoplasia. Rather, increased neural crest expands the maxillary primordia. In Fuz mutants, this phenotype stems from dysregulated Gli processing, which in turn results in excessive craniofacial Fgf8 gene expression. Accordingly, genetic reduction of Fgf8 ameliorates the maxillary phenotypes. Similar phenotypes result from mutation of oral-facial-digital syndrome 1 (Ofd1), suggesting that aberrant transcription of Fgf8 is a common feature of ciliopathies. High arched palate is also a prevalent feature of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) hyperactivation syndromes. Thus, our findings elucidate the etiology for a common craniofacial anomaly and identify links between two classes of human disease: FGF-hyperactivation syndromes and ciliopathies.
•A genetic model for high arched palate, commonly seen in human craniofacial syndromes•In ciliopathic mice, Fgf8 overexpression leads to cranial neural crest hyperplasia•Enlargement of the maxillary primordia underlies high arched palate in Fuz mutants•An etiological link between ciliopathies and FGF-hyperactivation syndromes
High arched palate is common to many human disorders, including ciliopathies and craniosynostosis syndromes. Tabler et al. develop and analyze a genetic model of high arched palate; they conclude that embryonic changes in neural crest and fibroblast growth factor signaling underlie this unusual phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3697100  PMID: 23806618
24.  Flamingo regulates epiboly and convergence/extension movements through cell cohesive and signalling functions during zebrafish gastrulation 
Development (Cambridge, England)  2008;136(3):383-392.
During vertebrate gastrulation, the body axis is established by coordinated and directional movements of cells that include epiboly, involution, and convergence and extension (C&E). Recent work implicates a non-canonical Wnt/planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway in the regulation of C&E. The Drosophila atypical cadherin Flamingo (Fmi) and its vertebrate homologue Celsr, a 7-pass transmembrane protein with extracellular cadherin repeats, regulate several biological processes, including C&E, cochlear cell orientation, axonal pathfinding and neuronal migration. Fmi/Celsr can function together with molecules involved in PCP, such as Frizzled (Fz) and Dishevelled (Dsh), but there is also some evidence that it may act as a cell adhesion molecule in a PCP-pathway-independent manner. We show that abrogation of Celsr activity in zebrafish embryos results in epiboly defects that appear to be independent of the requirement for Celsr in PCP signalling during C&E. Using a C-terminal truncated form of Celsr that inhibits membrane presentation of wild-type Celsr through its putative pro-region, a hanging drop assay reveals that cells from embryos with compromised Celsr activity have different cohesive properties from wild-type cells. It is disruption of this ability of Celsr to affect cell cohesion that primarily leads to the in vivo epiboly defects. In addition, Lyn-Celsr, in which the intracellular domain of Celsr is fused to a membrane localisation signal (Lyn), inhibits Fz-Dsh complex formation during Wnt/PCP signalling without affecting epiboly. Fmi/Celsr therefore has a dual role in mediating two separate morphogenetic movements through its roles in mediating cell cohesion and Wnt/PCP signalling during zebrafish gastrulation.
PMCID: PMC2687588  PMID: 19091770
Epiboly; Convergent extension; Planar cell polarity; Celsr; Flamingo; Drosophila; Zebrafish
25.  PTK7 regulates myosin II activity to orient planar polarity in the mammalian auditory epithelium 
Current biology : CB  2012;22(11):956-966.
Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) signaling is a key regulator of epithelial morphogenesis, including neural tube closure and the orientation of inner ear sensory hair cells, and is mediated by a conserved noncanonical Wnt pathway. Ptk7 is a novel vertebrate-specific regulator of PCP, yet the mechanisms by which Ptk7 regulates mammalian epithelial PCP remain poorly understood.
Here we show that, in the mammalian auditory epithelium, Ptk7 is not required for membrane recruitment of Dishevelled 2; Ptk7 and Frizzled3/Frizzled6 receptors act in parallel and have opposing effects on hair cell PCP. Mosaic analysis identified a requirement of Ptk7 in neighboring supporting cells for hair cell PCP. Ptk7 and the noncanonical Wnt pathway differentially regulate a contractile myosin II network near the apical surface of supporting cells. We provide evidence that this apical myosin II network exerts polarized contractile tension on hair cells to align their PCP, as revealed by asymmetric junctional recruitment of vinculin, a tension-sensitive actin binding protein. In Ptk7 mutants, compromised myosin II activity resulted in loss of planar asymmetry and reduced junctional localization of vinculin. By contrast, vinculin planar asymmetry and stereociliary bundle orientation were restored in Fz3−/−; Ptk7−/− double mutants.
These findings suggest that PTK7 acts in conjunction with the noncanonical Wnt pathway to orient epithelial PCP through modulation of myosin-II based contractile tension between supporting cells and hair cells.
PMCID: PMC3407606  PMID: 22560610
PTK7; Frizzled3; non-muscle myosin II; vinculin; planar cell polarity; sensory hair cells; supporting cells; contractile tension

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