Mua-3, a gene required for mechanical tissue integrity in Caenorhabditis elegans, encodes a novel transmembrane protein of epithelial attachment complexes.
ABSTRACT: Normal locomotion of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans requires transmission of contractile force through a series of mechanical linkages from the myofibrillar lattice of the body wall muscles, across an intervening extracellular matrix and epithelium (the hypodermis) to the cuticle. Mutations in mua-3 cause a separation of the hypodermis from the cuticle, suggesting this gene is required for maintaining hypodermal-cuticle attachment as the animal grows in size postembryonically. mua-3 encodes a predicted 3,767 amino acid protein with a large extracellular domain, a single transmembrane helix, and a smaller cytoplasmic domain. The extracellular domain contains four distinct protein modules: 5 low density lipoprotein type A, 52 epidermal growth factor, 1 von Willebrand factor A, and 2 sea urchin-enterokinase-agrin modules. MUA-3 localizes to the hypodermal hemidesmosomes and to other sites of mechanically robust transepithelial attachments, including the rectum, vulva, mechanosensory neurons, and excretory duct/pore. In addition, it is shown that MUA-3 colocalizes with cytoplasmic intermediate filaments (IFs) at these sites. Thus, MUA-3 appears to be a protein that links the IF cytoskeleton of nematode epithelia to the cuticle at sites of mechanical stress.
Project description:Tissue functions and mechanical coupling of cells must be integrated throughout development. A striking example of this coupling is the interactions of body wall muscle and hypodermal cells in Caenorhabditis elegans. These tissues are intimately associated in development and their interactions generate structures that provide a continuous mechanical link to transmit muscle forces across the hypodermis to the cuticle. Previously, we established that mup-4 is essential in embryonic epithelial (hypodermal) morphogenesis and maintenance of muscle position. Here, we report that mup-4 encodes a novel transmembrane protein that is required for attachments between the apical epithelial surface and the cuticular matrix. Its extracellular domain includes epidermal growth factor-like repeats, a von Willebrand factor A domain, and two sea urchin enterokinase modules. Its intracellular domain is homologous to filaggrin, an intermediate filament (IF)-associated protein that regulates IF compaction and that has not previously been reported as part of a junctional complex. MUP-4 colocalizes with epithelial hemidesmosomes overlying body wall muscles, beginning at the time of embryonic cuticle maturation, as well as with other sites of mechanical coupling. These findings support that MUP-4 is a junctional protein that functions in IF tethering, cell-matrix adherence, and mechanical coupling of tissues.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In C. elegans and other nematode species, body size is determined by the composition of the extracellular cuticle as well as by the nuclear DNA content of the underlying hypodermis. Mutants that are defective in these processes can exhibit either a short or a long body size phenotype. Several mutations that give a long body size (Lon) phenotype have been characterized and found to be regulated by the DBL-1/TGF-beta pathway, that controls post-embryonic growth and male tail development. RESULTS: Here we characterize a novel gene affecting body size. lon-8 encodes a secreted product of the hypodermis that is highly conserved in Rhabditid nematodes. lon-8 regulates larval elongation as well as male tail development. In both processes, lon-8 appears to function independently of the Sma/Mab pathway. Rather, lon-8 genetically interacts with dpy-11 and dpy-18, which encode cuticle collagen modifying enzymes. CONCLUSION: The novel gene lon-8 encodes a secreted product of the hypodermis that controls body size and male ray morphology in C. elegans. lon-8 genetically interacts with enzymes that affect the composition of the cuticle.
Project description:The Rap-pathway has been implicated in various cellular processes but its exact physiological function remains poorly defined. Here we show that the Caenorhabditis elegans homologue of the mammalian guanine nucleotide exchange factors PDZ-GEFs, PXF-1, specifically activates Rap1 and Rap2. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter constructs demonstrate that sites of pxf-1 expression include the hypodermis and gut. Particularly striking is the oscillating expression of pxf-1 in the pharynx during the four larval molts. Deletion of the catalytic domain from pxf-1 leads to hypodermal defects, resulting in lethality. The cuticle secreted by pxf-1 mutants is disorganized and can often not be shed during molting. At later stages, hypodermal degeneration is seen and animals that reach adulthood frequently die with a burst vulva phenotype. Importantly, disruption of rap-1 leads to a similar, but less severe phenotype, which is enhanced by the simultaneous removal of rap-2. In addition, the lethal phenotype of pxf-1 can be rescued by expression of an activated version of rap-1. Together these results demonstrate that the pxf-1/rap pathway in C. elegans is required for maintenance of epithelial integrity, in which it probably functions in polarized secretion.
Project description:We describe our characterization of kin-15 and kin-16, a tandem pair of homologous Caenorhabditis elegans genes encoding transmembrane protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) with an unusual structure: the predicted extracellular domain of each putative gene product is only about 50 amino acids, and there are no potential autophosphorylation sites in the C-terminal domain. Using lacZ fusions, we found that kin-15 and kin-16 both appear to be expressed during postembryonic development in the large hypodermal syncytium (hyp7) around the time that specific hypodermal cells fuse with hyp7. kin-15 and kin-16 were positioned on the genetic and physical maps, but extrachromosomal arrays containing wild-type kin-15 and/or kin-16 genes were unable to complement candidate lethal mutations. The results suggest that kin-15 and kin-16 may be specifically involved in cell-cell interactions regulating cell fusions that generate the hypodermis during postembryonic development.
Project description:Sensory dendrites innervate peripheral tissues through cell-cell interactions that are poorly understood. The proprioceptive neuron PVD in C. elegans extends regular terminal dendritic branches between muscle and hypodermis. We found that the PVD branch pattern was instructed by adhesion molecule SAX-7/L1CAM, which formed regularly spaced stripes on the hypodermal cell. The regularity of the SAX-7 pattern originated from the repeated and regularly spaced dense body of the sarcomeres in the muscle. The extracellular proteoglycan UNC-52/Perlecan linked the dense body to the hemidesmosome on the hypodermal cells, which in turn instructed the SAX-7 stripes and PVD dendrites. Both UNC-52 and hemidesmosome components exhibited highly regular stripes that interdigitated with the SAX-7 stripe and PVD dendrites, reflecting the striking precision of subcellular patterning between muscle, hypodermis, and dendrites. Hence, the muscular contractile apparatus provides the instructive cues to pattern proprioceptive dendrites.
Project description:In C. elegans, assembly of hypodermal hemidesmosome-like structures called fibrous organelles is temporally and spatially coordinated with the assembly of the muscle contractile apparatus, suggesting that signals are exchanged between these cell types to position fibrous organelles correctly. Myotactin, a protein recognized by monoclonal antibody MH46, is a candidate for such a signaling molecule. The antigen, although expressed by hypodermis, first reflects the pattern of muscle elements and only later reflects the pattern of fibrous organelles. Confocal microscopy shows that in adult worms myotactin and fibrous organelles show coincident localization. Further, cell ablation studies show the bodywall muscle cells are necessary for normal myotactin distribution. To investigate myotactin's role in muscle-hypodermal signaling, we characterized the myotactin locus molecularly and genetically. Myotactin is a novel transmembrane protein of approximately 500 kd. The extracellular domain contains at least 32 fibronectin type III repeats and the cytoplasmic domain contains unique sequence. In mutants lacking myotactin, muscle cells detach when embryonic muscle contraction begins. Later in development, fibrous organelles become delocalized and are not restricted to regions of the hypodermis previously contacted by muscle. These results suggest myotactin helps maintain the association between the muscle contractile apparatus and hypodermal fibrous organelles.
Project description:The nematode cuticle is a protective collagenous extracellular matrix that is modified, cross-linked, and processed by a number of key enzymes. This Ecdysozoan-specific structure is synthesized repeatedly and allows growth and development in a linked degradative and biosynthetic process known as molting. A targeted RNA interference screen using a cuticle collagen marker has been employed to identify components of the cuticle biosynthetic pathway. We have characterized an essential peroxidase, MoLT-7 (MLT-7), that is responsible for proper cuticle molting and re-synthesis. MLT-7 is an active, inhibitable peroxidase that is expressed in the cuticle-synthesizing hypodermis coincident with each larval molt. mlt-7 mutants show a range of body morphology defects, most notably molt, dumpy, and early larval stage arrest phenotypes that can all be complemented with a wild type copy of mlt-7. The cuticles of these mutants lacks di-tyrosine cross-links, becomes permeable to dye and accessible to tyrosine iodination, and have aberrant collagen protein expression patterns. Overexpression of MLT-7 causes mutant phenotypes further supporting its proposed enzymatic role. In combination with BLI-3, an H2O2-generating NADPH dual oxidase, MLT-7 is essential for post-embryonic development. Disruption of mlt-7, and particularly bli-3, via RNA interference also causes dramatic changes to the in vivo cross-linking patterns of the cuticle collagens DPY-13 and COL-12. This points toward a functionally cooperative relationship for these two hypodermally expressed proteins that is essential for collagen cross-linking and proper extracellular matrix formation.
Project description:L-Rhamnose is a common component of cell-wall polysaccharides, glycoproteins and some natural products in bacteria and plants, but is rare in fungi and animals. In the present study, we identify and characterize a biosynthetic pathway for dTDP-rhamnose in Caenorhabditis elegans that is highly conserved across nematode species. We show that RML-1 activates glucose 1-phosphate (Glc-1-P) in the presence of either dTTP or UTP to yield dTDP-glucose or UDP-glucose, respectively. RML-2 is a dTDP-glucose 4,6-dehydratase, converting dTDP-glucose into dTDP-4-keto-6-deoxyglucose. Using mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy, we demonstrate that coincubation of dTDP-4-keto-6-deoxyglucose with RML-3 (3,5-epimerase) and RML-4 (4-keto-reductase) produces dTDP-rhamnose. RML-4 could only be expressed and purified in an active form through co-expression with a co-regulated protein, RML-5, which forms a complex with RML-4. Analysis of the sugar nucleotide pool in C. elegans established the presence of dTDP-rhamnose in vivo Targeting the expression of the rhamnose biosynthetic genes by RNAi resulted in significant reductions in dTDP-rhamnose, but had no effect on the biosynthesis of a closely related sugar, ascarylose, found in the ascaroside pheromones. Therefore, the rhamnose and ascarylose biosynthetic pathways are distinct. We also show that transcriptional reporters for the rhamnose biosynthetic genes are expressed highly in the embryo, in the hypodermis during molting cycles and in the hypodermal seam cells specifically before the molt to the stress-resistant dauer larval stage. These expression patterns suggest that rhamnose biosynthesis may play an important role in hypodermal development or the production of the cuticle or surface coat during molting.
Project description:Root-knot nematode (RKN) Meloidogyne incognita is an economically important pest of crops. Pasteuria penetrans, is a nematode hyperparasitic bacterium capable of suppressing the reproduction of RKN and thereby useful for its management. Secreted fatty acid and retinol-binding proteins are unique in nematodes and are engaged in nutrient acquisition, development and reproduction; they are also a component of the nematode cuticle and thought to be involved in the interface between hosts and parasites. Attachment of endospores to the cuticle of second stage juveniles of RKN is the primary step of infection and several factors have been identified to facilitate attachment. In this study, the full length of Mi-far-1 (573 bp) was cloned from M. incognita and characterized. Analysis revealed that the Mi-far-1 was rich in ?-helix structure, contained a predicted consensus casein kinase II phosphorylation site and a glycosylation site. Quantitative PCR showed the highest expression in the fourth stage juveniles and in situ hybridization revealed the presence of Mi-far-1 mRNA in the hypodermis below the cuticle. Single copy insertion pattern of Mi-far-1 in M. incognita genome was detected by Southern blotting. Knockdown of Mi-far-1 showed significantly increased attachment of P. penetrans' endospores on juvenile cuticle surface and also affected host finding, root infection and nematode fecundity.
Project description:Plant-parasitic nematodes secrete numerous effectors to facilitate parasitism, but detailed functions of nematode effectors and their plant targets remain largely unknown. Here, we characterized four macrophage migration inhibitory factors (MIFs) in Meloidogyne incognita resembling the MIFs secreted by human and animal parasites. Transcriptional data showed MiMIFs are up-regulated in parasitism. Immunolocalization provided evidence that MiMIF proteins are secreted from the nematode hypodermis to the parasite surface, detected in plant tissues and giant cells. In planta MiMIFs RNA interference in Arabidopsis decreased infection and nematode reproduction. Transient expression of MiMIF-2 could suppress Bax- and RBP1/Gpa2-induced cell death. MiMIF-2 ectopic expression led to higher levels of Arabidopsis susceptibility, suppressed immune responses triggered by flg22, and impaired [Ca2+]cyt influx induced by H2O2. The immunoprecipitation of MiMIF-2-interacting proteins, followed by co-immunoprecipitation and bimolecular fluorescence complementation validations, revealed specific interactions between MiMIF-2 and two Arabidopsis annexins, AnnAt1 and AnnAt4, involved in the transport of calcium ions, stress responses, and signal transduction. Suppression of expression or overexpression of these annexins modified nematode infection. Our results provide functional evidence that nematode effectors secreted from hypodermis to the parasite cuticle surface target host proteins and M. incognita uses MiMIFs to promote parasitism by interfering with the annexin-mediated plant immune responses.