The PAR-6 polarity protein regulates dendritic spine morphogenesis through p190 RhoGAP and the Rho GTPase.
ABSTRACT: The majority of excitatory synaptic transmission in the brain occurs at dendritic spines, which are actin-rich protrusions on the dendrites. The asymmetric nature of these structures suggests that proteins regulating cell polarity might be involved in their formation. Indeed, the polarity protein PAR-3 is required for normal spine morphogenesis. However, this function is independent of association with atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) and PAR-6. Here we show that PAR-6 together with aPKC plays a distinct but essential role in spine morphogenesis. Knockdown of PAR-6 inhibits spine morphogenesis, whereas overexpression of PAR-6 increases spine density, and these effects are mediated by aPKC. Using a FRET biosensor, we further show that p190 RhoGAP and RhoA act downstream of the PAR-6/aPKC complex. These results define a role for PAR-6 and aPKC in dendritic spine biogenesis and maintenance, and reveal an unexpected link between the PAR-6/aPKC complex and RhoA activity.
Project description:Polarized epithelia develop distinct cell surface domains, with the apical membrane acquiring characteristic morphological features such as microvilli. Cell polarization is driven by polarity determinants including the evolutionarily conserved partitioning-defective (PAR) proteins that are separated into distinct cortical domains. PAR protein segregation is thought to be a consequence of asymmetric actomyosin contractions. The mechanism of activation of apically polarized actomyosin contractility is unknown. Here we show that the Cdc42 effector MRCK activates myosin-II at the apical pole to segregate aPKC-Par6 from junctional Par3, defining the apical domain. Apically polarized MRCK-activated actomyosin contractility is reinforced by cooperation with aPKC-Par6 downregulating antagonistic RhoA-driven junctional actomyosin contractility, and drives polarization of cytosolic brush border determinants and apical morphogenesis. MRCK-activated polarized actomyosin contractility is required for apical differentiation and morphogenesis in vertebrate epithelia and Drosophila photoreceptors. Our results identify an apical origin of actomyosin-driven morphogenesis that couples cytoskeletal reorganization to PAR polarity signalling.
Project description:Hematopoiesis is regulated by components of the microenvironment, so-called niche. Here, we show that p190-B GTPase-activating protein (p190-B) deletion in mice causes hematopoietic failure during ontogeny, in p190-B(-/-) fetal liver and bones, and in p190-B(+/-) adult bones and spleen. These defects are non-cell autonomous, as we previously showed that transplantation of p190-B(-/-) hematopoietic cells into wild-type (WT) hosts leads to normal hematopoiesis. Coculture of mesenchymal stem (MSC)/progenitor cells and wild-type bone marrow (BM) cells reveals that p190-B(-/-) MSCs are dysfunctional in supporting hematopoiesis owing to impaired Wnt signaling. Furthermore, p190-B loss causes alteration in BM niche composition, including abnormal colony-forming unit (CFU)-fibroblast, CFU-adipocyte and CFU-osteoblast numbers. This is due to altered MSC lineage fate specification to osteoblast and adipocyte lineages. Thus, p190-B organizes a functional mesenchymal/microenvironment for normal hematopoiesis during development.
Project description:In epithelia, cells adhere to each other in a dynamic fashion, allowing the cells to change their shape and move along each other during morphogenesis. The regulation of adhesion occurs at the belt-shaped adherens junction, the zonula adherens (ZA). Formation of the ZA depends on components of the Par-atypical PKC (Par-aPKC) complex of polarity regulators. We have identified the Lin11, Isl-1, Mec-3 (LIM) protein Smallish (Smash), the orthologue of vertebrate LMO7, as a binding partner of Bazooka/Par-3 (Baz), a core component of the Par-aPKC complex. Smash also binds to Canoe/Afadin and the tyrosine kinase Src42A and localizes to the ZA in a planar polarized fashion. Animals lacking Smash show loss of planar cell polarity (PCP) in the embryonic epidermis and reduced cell bond tension, leading to severe defects during embryonic morphogenesis of epithelial tissues and organs. Overexpression of Smash causes apical constriction of epithelial cells. We propose that Smash is a key regulator of morphogenesis coordinating PCP and actomyosin contractility at the ZA.
Project description:Cdh1 is an activator of the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome and contributes to mitotic exit and G(1) maintenance by targeting cell cycle proteins for degradation. However, Cdh1 is expressed and active in postmitotic or quiescent cells, suggesting that it has functions other than cell cycle control. Here, we found that homozygous Cdh1 gene-trapped (Cdh1(GT/GT)) mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and Cdh1-depleted HeLa cells reduced stress fiber formation significantly. The GTP-bound active Rho protein was apparently decreased in the Cdh1-depleted cells. The p190 protein, a major GTPase-activating protein for Rho, accumulated both in Cdh1(GT/GT) MEFs and in Cdh1-knockdown HeLa cells. Cdh1 formed a physical complex with p190 and stimulated the efficient ubiquitination of p190, both in in vitro and in vivo. The motility of Cdh1-depleted HeLa cells was impaired; however, codepletion of p190 rescued the migration activity of these cells. Moreover, Cdh1(GT/GT) embryos exhibited phenotypes similar to those observed for Rho-associated kinase I and II knockout mice: eyelid closure delay and disruptive architecture with frequent thrombus formation in the placental labyrinth layer, respectively. Furthermore, the p190 protein accumulated in the Cdh1(GT/GT) embryonic tissues. Our data revealed a novel function for Cdh1 as a regulator of Rho and provided insights into the role of Cdh1 in cell cytoskeleton organization and cell motility.
Project description:The conserved polarity effector proteins PAR-3, PAR-6, CDC-42, and atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) form a core unit of the PAR protein network, which plays a central role in polarizing a broad range of animal cell types. To functionally polarize cells, these proteins must activate aPKC within a spatially defined membrane domain on one side of the cell in response to symmetry-breaking cues. Using the Caenorhabditis elegans zygote as a model, we find that the localization and activation of aPKC involve distinct, specialized aPKC-containing assemblies: a PAR-3-dependent assembly that responds to polarity cues and promotes efficient segregation of aPKC toward the anterior but holds aPKC in an inactive state, and a CDC-42-dependent assembly in which aPKC is active but poorly segregated. Cycling of aPKC between these distinct functional assemblies, which appears to depend on aPKC activity, effectively links cue-sensing and effector roles within the PAR network to ensure robust establishment of polarity.
Project description:The mechanisms regulating hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) fate choices remain ill-defined. Here, we show that a signalling network of p190-B RhoGAP-ROS-TGF-?-p38MAPK balances HSPC self-renewal and differentiation. Upon transplantation, HSPCs express high amounts of bioactive TGF-?1 protein, which is associated with high levels of p38MAPK activity and loss of HSC self-renewal in vivo. Elevated levels of bioactive TGF-?1 are associated with asymmetric fate choice in vitro in single HSPCs via p38MAPK activity and this is correlated with the asymmetric distribution of activated p38MAPK. In contrast, loss of p190-B, a RhoGTPase inhibitor, normalizes TGF-? levels and p38MAPK activity in HSPCs and is correlated with increased HSC self-renewal in vivo. Loss of p190-B also promotes symmetric retention of multi-lineage capacity in single HSPC myeloid cell cultures, further suggesting a link between p190-B-RhoGAP and non-canonical TGF-? signalling in HSPC differentiation. Thus, intracellular cytokine signalling may serve as 'fate determinants' used by HSPCs to modulate their activity.
Project description:The PAR-3/PAR-6/atypical PKC (aPKC) complex is required for axon-dendrite specification of hippocampal neurons. However, the downstream effectors of this complex are not well defined. In this article, we report a role for microtubule affinity-regulating kinase (MARK)/PAR-1 in axon-dendrite specification. Knocking down MARK2 expression with small interfering RNAs induced formation of multiple axon-like neurites and promoted axon outgrowth. Ectopic expression of MARK2 caused phosphorylation of tau (S262) and led to loss of axons, and this phenotype was rescued by expression of PAR-3, PAR-6, and aPKC. In contrast, the polarity defects caused by an MARK2 mutant (T595A), which is not responsive to aPKC, were not rescued by the PAR-3/PAR-6/aPKC complex. Moreover, polarity was abrogated in neurons overexpressing a mutant of MARK2 with a deleted kinase domain but an intact aPKC-binding domain. Finally, suppression of MARK2 rescued the polarity defects induced by a dominant-negative aPKC mutant. These results suggest that MARK2 is involved in neuronal polarization and functions downstream of the PAR-3/PAR-6/aPKC complex. We propose that aPKC in complex with PAR-3/PAR-6 negatively regulates MARK(s), which in turn causes dephosphorylation of microtubule-associated proteins, such as tau, leading to the assembly of microtubules and elongation of axons.
Project description:RhoGTPases organize the actin cytoskeleton to generate diverse polarities, from front-back polarity in migrating cells to dendritic spine morphology in neurons. For example, RhoA through its effector kinase, RhoA kinase (ROCK), activates myosin II to form actomyosin filament bundles and large adhesions that locally inhibit and thereby polarize Rac1-driven actin polymerization to the protrusions of migratory fibroblasts and the head of dendritic spines. We have found that the two ROCK isoforms, ROCK1 and ROCK2, differentially regulate distinct molecular pathways downstream of RhoA, and their coordinated activities drive polarity in both cell migration and synapse formation. In particular, ROCK1 forms the stable actomyosin filament bundles that initiate front-back and dendritic spine polarity. In contrast, ROCK2 regulates contractile force and Rac1 activity at the leading edge of migratory cells and the spine head of neurons; it also specifically regulates cofilin-mediated actin remodeling that underlies the maturation of adhesions and the postsynaptic density of dendritic spines.
Project description:A hallmark of polarized cells is the segregation of the PAR polarity regulators into asymmetric domains at the cell cortex. Antagonistic interactions involving two conserved kinases, atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) and PAR-1, have been implicated in polarity maintenance, but the mechanisms that initiate the formation of asymmetric PAR domains are not understood. Here, we describe one pathway used by the sperm-donated centrosome to polarize the PAR proteins in Caenorhabditis elegans zygotes. Before polarization, cortical aPKC excludes PAR-1 kinase and its binding partner PAR-2 by phosphorylation. During symmetry breaking, microtubules nucleated by the centrosome locally protect PAR-2 from phosphorylation by aPKC, allowing PAR-2 and PAR-1 to access the cortex nearest the centrosome. Cortical PAR-1 phosphorylates PAR-3, causing the PAR-3-aPKC complex to leave the cortex. Our findings illustrate how microtubules, independently of actin dynamics, stimulate the self-organization of PAR proteins by providing local protection against a global barrier imposed by aPKC.
Project description:The Drosophila anterior-posterior axis is specified when the posterior follicle cells signal to polarise the oocyte, leading to the anterior/lateral localisation of the Par-6/aPKC complex and the posterior recruitment of Par-1, which induces a microtubule reorganisation that localises bicoid and oskar mRNAs. Here we show that oocyte polarity requires Slmb, the substrate specificity subunit of the SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets proteins for degradation. The Par-6/aPKC complex is ectopically localised to the posterior of slmb mutant oocytes, and Par-1 and oskar mRNA are mislocalised. Slmb appears to play a related role in epithelial follicle cells, as large slmb mutant clones disrupt epithelial organisation, whereas small clones show an expansion of the apical domain, with increased accumulation of apical polarity factors at the apical cortex. The levels of aPKC and Par-6 are significantly increased in slmb mutants, whereas Baz is slightly reduced. Thus, Slmb may induce the polarisation of the anterior-posterior axis of the oocyte by targeting the Par-6/aPKC complex for degradation at the oocyte posterior. Consistent with this, overexpression of the aPKC antagonist Lgl strongly rescues the polarity defects of slmb mutant germline clones. The role of Slmb in oocyte polarity raises an intriguing parallel with C. elegans axis formation, in which PAR-2 excludes the anterior PAR complex from the posterior cortex to induce polarity, but its function can be substituted by overexpressing Lgl.