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1.  Proteasome, but Not Autophagy, Disruption Results in Severe Eye and Wing Dysmorphia: A Subunit- and Regulator-Dependent Process in Drosophila 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80530.
Proteasome-dependent and autophagy-mediated degradation of eukaryotic cellular proteins represent the two major proteostatic mechanisms that are critically implicated in a number of signaling pathways and cellular processes. Deregulation of functions engaged in protein elimination frequently leads to development of morbid states and diseases. In this context, and through the utilization of GAL4/UAS genetic tool, we herein examined the in vivo contribution of proteasome and autophagy systems in Drosophila eye and wing morphogenesis. By exploiting the ability of GAL4-ninaE. GMR and P{GawB}BxMS1096 genetic drivers to be strongly and preferentially expressed in the eye and wing discs, respectively, we proved that proteasomal integrity and ubiquitination proficiency essentially control fly’s eye and wing development. Indeed, subunit- and regulator-specific patterns of severe organ dysmorphia were obtained after the RNAi-induced downregulation of critical proteasome components (Rpn1, Rpn2, α5, β5 and β6) or distinct protein-ubiquitin conjugators (UbcD6, but not UbcD1 and UbcD4). Proteasome deficient eyes presented with either rough phenotypes or strongly dysmorphic shapes, while transgenic mutant wings were severely folded and carried blistered structures together with loss of vein differentiation. Moreover, transgenic fly eyes overexpressing the UBP2-yeast deubiquitinase enzyme were characterized by an eyeless-like phenotype. Therefore, the proteasome/ubiquitin proteolytic activities are undoubtedly required for the normal course of eye and wing development. In contrast, the RNAi-mediated downregulation of critical Atg (1, 4, 7, 9 and 18) autophagic proteins revealed their non-essential, or redundant, functional roles in Drosophila eye and wing formation under physiological growth conditions, since their reduced expression levels could only marginally disturb wing’s, but not eye’s, morphogenetic organization and architecture. However, Atg9 proved indispensable for the maintenance of structural integrity of adult wings in aged flies. In toto, our findings clearly demonstrate the gene-specific fundamental contribution of proteasome, but not autophagy, in invertebrate eye and wing organ development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080530
PMCID: PMC3839973  PMID: 24282550
2.  Parvin Overexpression Uncovers Tissue-Specific Genetic Pathways and Disrupts F-Actin to Induce Apoptosis in the Developing Epithelia in Drosophila 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47355.
Parvin is a putative F-actin binding protein important for integrin-mediated cell adhesion. Here we used overexpression of Drosophila Parvin to uncover its functions in different tissues in vivo. Parvin overexpression caused major defects reminiscent of metastatic cancer cells in developing epithelia, including apoptosis, alterations in cell shape, basal extrusion and invasion. These defects were closely correlated with abnormalities in the organization of F-actin at the basal epithelial surface and of integrin-matrix adhesion sites. In wing epithelium, overexpressed Parvin triggered increased Rho1 protein levels, predominantly at the basal side, whereas in the developing eye it caused a rough eye phenotype and severely disrupted F-actin filaments at the retina floor of pigment cells. We identified genes that suppressed these Parvin-induced dominant effects, depending on the cell type. Co-expression of both ILK and the apoptosis inhibitor DIAP1 blocked Parvin-induced lethality and apoptosis and partially ameliorated cell delamination in epithelia, but did not rescue the elevated Rho1 levels, the abnormal organization of F-actin in the wing and the assembly of integrin-matrix adhesion sites. The rough eye phenotype was suppressed by coexpression of either PTEN or Wech, or by knock-down of Xrp1. Two main conclusions can be drawn from our studies: (1), high levels of cytoplasmic Parvin are toxic in epithelial cells; (2) Parvin in a dose dependent manner affects the organization of actin cytoskeleton in both wing and eye epithelia, independently of its role as a structural component of the ILK-PINCH-Parvin complex that mediates the integrin-actin link. Thus, distinct genetic interactions of Parvin occur in different cell types and second site modifier screens are required to uncover such genetic circuits.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047355
PMCID: PMC3471835  PMID: 23077599
3.  Parvin-ILK 
Bioarchitecture  2012;2(3):91-94.
Integrin-linked kinase (ILK), PINCH and Parvin proteins form the IPP-complex that has been established as a core component of the integrin-actin link. Our recent genetic studies on Drosophila parvin, reveal that loss of function mutant defects phenocopy those observed upon loss of ILK or PINCH in the muscle and the wing, strengthening the notion that these proteins function together in the organism. Our work identified that ILK is necessary and sufficient for parvin subcellular localization, corroborating previous data indicating a direct association between these two proteins. Further genetic epistasis analysis of the IPP-complex assembly at integrin adhesion sites reveals that depending on the cell context each component is required differently. At the muscle attachment sites of the embryo, ILK is placed upstream in the hierarchy of genetic interactions required for the IPP-complex assembly. By contrast, in the wing epithelium the three proteins are mutually interdependent. Finally, we uncovered a novel property for the CH1-domain of parvin: its recruitment at the integrin-containing junctions in an ILK-dependent manner. Apparently, this ability of the CH1-domain is controlled by the inter-CH linker region. Thus, an intramolecular interaction within parvin could serve as a putative regulatory mechanism controlling the ILK-Parvin interaction.
doi:10.4161/bioa.20700
PMCID: PMC3414386  PMID: 22880148
integrin; cell adhesion; PINCH; actin; Drosophila
4.  Drosophila Integrin-Linked Kinase Is Required at Sites of Integrin Adhesion to Link the Cytoskeleton to the Plasma Membrane 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;152(5):1007-1018.
Integrin-linked kinase (ILK) was identified by its interaction with the cytoplasmic tail of human β1 integrin and previous data suggest that ILK is a component of diverse signaling pathways, including integrin, Wnt, and protein kinase B. Here we show that the absence of ILK function in Drosophila causes defects similar to loss of integrin adhesion, but not similar to loss of these signaling pathways. ILK mutations cause embryonic lethality and defects in muscle attachment, and clones of cells lacking ILK in the adult wing fail to adhere, forming wing blisters. Consistent with this, an ILK–green fluorescent protein fusion protein colocalizes with the position-specific integrins at sites of integrin function: muscle attachment sites and the basal junctions of the wing epithelium. Surprisingly, mutations in the kinase domain shown to inactivate the kinase activity of human ILK do not show any phenotype in Drosophila, suggesting a kinase-independent function for ILK. The muscle detachment in ILK mutants is associated with detachment of the actin filaments from the muscle ends, unlike integrin mutants, in which the primary defect is detachment of the plasma membrane from the extracellular matrix. Our data suggest that ILK is a component of the structure linking the cytoskeleton and the plasma membrane at sites of integrin-mediated adhesion.
PMCID: PMC2198807  PMID: 11238456
integrins; cell adhesion; cytoskeleton; kinase; Drosophila

Results 1-4 (4)