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The cell adhesion molecule Roughest depends on βHeavy-spectrin during eye morphogenesis in Drosophila
Hyun-Gwan Lee, Daniela C. Zarnescu, Bryce MacIver, Graham H. Thomas


Cell junctions have both structural and morphogenetic roles, and contain complex mixtures of proteins whose interdependencies are still largely unknown. Junctions are also major signaling centers that signify correct integration into a tissue, and modulate cell survival. During Drosophila eye development, the activity of the immunoglobulin cell adhesion molecule Roughest (also known as Irregular chiasm C-roughest protein) mediates interommatidial cell (IOC) reorganization, leading to an apoptotic event that refines the retinal lattice. Roughest and the cadherin-based zonula adherens (ZA) are interdependent and both are modulated by the apical polarity determinant, Crumbs. Here we describe a novel relationship between the Crumbs partner βHeavy-spectrin (βH), the ZA and Roughest. Ectopic expression of the C-terminal segment 33 of βH (βH33) induces defects in retinal morphogenesis, resulting the preferential loss of IOC. This effect is associated with ZA disruption and Roughest displacement. In addition, loss-of-function karst and roughest mutations interact to cause a synergistic and catastrophic effect on retinal development. Finally, we show that βH coimmunoprecipitates with Roughest and that the distribution of Roughest protein is disrupted in karst mutant tissue. These results suggest that the apical spectrin membrane skeleton helps to coordinate the Cadherin-based ZA with Roughest-based morphogenesis.

  • Accepted November 5, 2009.
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