PTK7 regulates myosin II activity to orient planar polarity in the mammalian auditory epithelium.
ABSTRACT: 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.
Project description:PTK7 is an essential component of the Wnt/planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway. We provide evidence that the Wnt/PCP pathway converges with pericellular proteolysis in both normal development and cancer. Here, we demonstrate that membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP), a key proinvasive proteinase, functions as a principal sheddase of PTK7. MT1-MMP directly cleaves the exposed PKP(621)?LI sequence of the seventh Ig-like domain of the full-length membrane PTK7 and generates, as a result, an N-terminal, soluble PTK7 fragment (sPTK7). The enforced expression of membrane PTK7 in cancer cells leads to the actin cytoskeleton reorganization and the inhibition of cell invasion. MT1-MMP silencing and the analysis of the uncleavable L622D PTK7 mutant confirm the significance of MT1-MMP proteolysis of PTK7 in cell functions. Our data also demonstrate that a fine balance between the metalloproteinase activity and PTK7 levels is required for normal development of zebrafish (Danio rerio). Aberration of this balance by the proteinase inhibition or PTK7 silencing results in the PCP-dependent convergent extension defects in the zebrafish. Overall, our data suggest that the MT1-MMP-PTK7 axis plays an important role in both cancer cell invasion and normal embryogenesis in vertebrates. Further insight into these novel mechanisms may promote understanding of directional cell motility and lead to the identification of therapeutics to treat PCP-related developmental disorders and malignancy.
Project description:The Wolffian duct, the proximal end of the mesonephric duct, undergoes non-branching morphogenesis to achieve an optimal length and size for sperm maturation. It is important to examine the mechanisms by which the developing mouse Wolffian duct elongates and coils for without proper morphogenesis, male infertility will result. Here we show that highly proliferative epithelial cells divide in a random orientation relative to the elongation axis in the developing Wolffian duct. Convergent extension (CE)-like of cell rearrangements is required for elongating the duct while maintaining a relatively unchanged duct diameter. The Wolffian duct epithelium is planar polarized, which is characterized by oriented cell elongation, oriented cell rearrangements, and polarized activity of regulatory light chain of myosin II. Conditional deletion of protein tyrosine kinase 7 (PTK7), a regulator of planar cell polarity (PCP), from mesoderm results in loss of the PCP characteristics in the Wolffian duct epithelium. Although loss of Ptk7 does not alter cell proliferation or division orientation, it affects CE and leads to the duct with significantly shortened length, increased diameter, and reduced coiling, which eventually results in loss of sperm motility, a key component of sperm maturation. In vitro experiments utilizing inhibitors of myosin II results in reduced elongation and coiling, similar to the phenotype of Ptk7 knockout. This data suggest that PTK7 signaling through myosin II regulates PCP, which in turn ensures CE-like of cell rearrangements to drive elongation and coiling of the Wolffian duct. Therefore, PTK7 is essential for Wolffian duct morphogenesis and male fertility.
Project description:Wolffian/epididymal duct morphogenesis highly coordinates with its specialized function of providing microenvironment for sperm maturation. Without normal development of Wolffian duct, male infertility will result. Therefore, it is important to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulated Wolffian duct morphogenesis. Our previous study showed that mediolateral intercalation of epithelial cells was a major driver of ductal elongation. In addition, radial intercalation of mesenchymal cells surrounding the duct also played roles in Wolffian duct morphogenesis, and all of these cell re-arrangements were regulated by protein tyrosine kinase 7 (PTK7), a member of the planar cell polarity (PCP) non-canonical Wnt pathway. In this study, we showed that PTK7 regulated assemblies of extracellular matrix (ECM) at the basement membrane and throughout the mesenchyme. Abnormal assembly of laminin, collagen IV, and nephronectin at the basement membrane and fibrosis-like deposition of fibrilla collagen in the interstitium were observed in Ptk7 knockout Wolffian ducts. Meanwhile, PTK7 regulated activity levels of small GTPase RAC1 and myosin II in the mesenchyme of the Wolffian duct. Activity levels of RAC1 and myosin II decreased in the Ptk7 knockout mesenchyme compared to controls. When in-vitro-cultured Wolffian ducts were treated with collagenase IV, cross-link of fibrilla collagen was reduced, Wolffian duct elongation and coiling was reduced significantly, and cyst-like bulge was developed in the epithelial duct. When Wolffian ducts were treated with RAC1 inhibitor NSC23766, fibrilla collagen in the mesenchyme was disassembled, and Wolffian duct elongation was suppressed significantly. Our finding suggested that PTK7 regulated ECM assembly in the mesenchyme likely through regulating RAC1 and myosin II activities. Dynamic assembly and remodeling of ECM were important to Wolffian duct morphogenesis. Overall design: Examination of gene expression in PTK7-/- Wolffian ducts
Project description:Neural crest cells are a highly migratory pluripotent cell population that generates a wide array of different cell types and failure in their migration can result in severe birth defects and malformation syndromes. Neural crest migration is controlled by various means including chemotaxis, repellent guidance cues and cell-cell interaction. Non-canonical Wnt PCP (planar cell polarity) signaling has previously been shown to control cell-contact mediated neural crest cell guidance. PTK7 (protein tyrosine kinase 7) is a transmembrane pseudokinase and a known regulator of Wnt/PCP signaling, which is expressed in Xenopus neural crest cells and required for their migration. PTK7 functions as a Wnt co-receptor; however, it remains unclear by which means PTK7 affects neural crest migration. Expressing fluorescently labeled proteins in Xenopus neural crest cells we find that PTK7 co-localizes with the Ror2 Wnt-receptor. Further, co-immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrate that PTK7 interacts with Ror2. The PTK7/Ror2 interaction is likely relevant for neural crest migration, because Ror2 expression can rescue the PTK7 loss of function migration defect. Live cell imaging of explanted neural crest cells shows that PTK7 loss of function affects the formation of cell protrusions as well as cell motility. Co-expression of Ror2 can rescue these defects. In vivo analysis demonstrates that a kinase dead Ror2 mutant cannot rescue PTK7 loss of function. Thus, our data suggest that Ror2 can substitute for PTK7 and that the signaling function of its kinase domain is required for this effect.
Project description:The receptor protein tyrosine kinase 7 (PTK7) was recently shown to participate in noncanonical Wnt/planar cell polarity signalling during mouse and frog embryonic development. In this study, we report that PTK7 interacts with ?-catenin in a yeast two-hybrid assay and mammalian cells. PTK7-deficient cells exhibit weakened ?-catenin/T-cell factor transcriptional activity on Wnt3a stimulation. Furthermore, Xenopus PTK7 is required for the formation of Spemann's organizer and for Siamois promoter activation, events that require ?-catenin transcriptional activity. Using epistatic assays, we demonstrate that PTK7 functions upstream from glycogen synthase kinase 3. Taken together, our data reveal a new and conserved role for PTK7 in the Wnt canonical signalling pathway.
Project description:Wolffian duct morphogenesis must be highly coordinated with its specialized function of providing an optimal microenvironment for sperm maturation. Without normal Wolffian duct morphogenesis, male infertility will result. Our previous study showed that mediolateral and radial intercalation of epithelial and mesenchymal cells respectively, were major drivers of ductal elongation and were regulated by protein tyrosine kinase 7 (PTK7), a member of the planar cell polarity (PCP) non-canonical Wnt pathway. To understand the mechanism by which PTK7 regulates cell rearrangement/intercalation, we investigated the integrity of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and the activity of intracellular cytoskeleton mediators following loss of Ptk7. Abnormal assembly of nephronectin, laminin, and collagen IV at the basement membrane and fibrosis-like deposition of fibrilla collagen in the interstitium were observed in Ptk7 knockout Wolffian ducts. Further, the activity levels of RAC1 and myosin II, two cytoskeleton mediators, decreased in the Ptk7 knockout mesenchyme compared to controls. In addition, in-vitro experiments suggested that alterations of ECM and cytoskeleton mediators resulted in changes in Wolffian duct morphogenesis. When in-vitro-cultured Wolffian ducts were treated with collagenase IV, the degree of cross-linked fibrilla collagen was reduced, Wolffian duct elongation and coiling were significantly reduced, and an expanded cyst-like duct was observed. When Wolffian ducts were treated with RAC1 inhibitor NSC23766, mesenchymal fibrilla collagen was disassembled, and Wolffian duct elongation was significantly reduced. Our findings provide evidence that PTK7 regulates ECM integrity and the activity levels of RAC1 and myosin II, which in turn regulates Wolffian duct morphogenesis and therefore, epididymal function.
Project description:Wnt ligands are secreted glycoproteins that control many developmental processes and are crucial for homeostasis of numerous tissues in the adult organism. Signal transduction of Wnts involves the binding of Wnts to receptor complexes at the surface of target cells. These receptor complexes are commonly formed between a member of the Frizzled family of seven-pass transmembrane proteins and a co-receptor, which is usually a single-pass transmembrane protein. Among these co-receptors are several with structural homology to receptor tyrosine kinases, including Ror, PTK7, Ryk and MUSK. In vertebrates, Ror-2 and PTK7 are important regulators of planar cell polarity (PCP). By contrast, PCP phenotypes were not reported for mutations in off-track (otk) and off-track2 (otk2), encoding the Drosophila orthologs of PTK7. Here we show that Drosophila Ror is expressed in the nervous system and localizes to the plasma membrane of perikarya and neurites. A null allele of Ror is homozygous viable and fertile, does not display PCP phenotypes and interacts genetically with mutations in otk and otk2 We show that Ror binds specifically to Wingless (Wg), Wnt4 and Wnt5 and also to Frizzled2 (Fz2) and Otk. Our findings establish Drosophila Ror as a Wnt co-receptor expressed in the nervous system.
Project description:Planar cell polarity (PCP) plays crucial roles in developmental processes such as gastrulation, neural tube closure and hearing. Wnt pathway mutants are often classified as PCP mutants due to similarities between their phenotypes. Here, we show that in the zebrafish lateral line, disruptions of the PCP and Wnt pathways have differential effects on hair cell orientations. While mutations in the PCP genes vangl2 and scrib cause random orientations of hair cells, mutations in wnt11f1, gpc4 and fzd7a/b induce hair cells to adopt a concentric pattern. This concentric pattern is not caused by defects in PCP but is due to misaligned support cells. The molecular basis of the support cell defect is unknown but we demonstrate that the PCP and Wnt pathways work in parallel to establish proper hair cell orientation. Consequently, hair cell orientation defects are not solely explained by defects in PCP signaling, and some hair cell phenotypes warrant re-evaluation.
Project description:Actomyosin-based contractility acts on cadherin junctions to support tissue integrity and morphogenesis. The actomyosin apparatus of the epithelial zonula adherens (ZA) is built by coordinating junctional actin assembly with Myosin II activation. However, the physical interaction between Myosin and actin filaments that is necessary for contractility can induce actin filament turnover, potentially compromising the contractile apparatus itself.We now identify tension-sensitive actin assembly as one cellular solution to this design paradox. We show that junctional actin assembly is maintained by contractility in established junctions and increases when contractility is stimulated. The underlying mechanism entails the tension-sensitive recruitment of vinculin to the ZA. Vinculin, in turn, directly recruits Mena/VASP proteins to support junctional actin assembly. By combining strategies that uncouple Mena/VASP from vinculin or ectopically target Mena/VASP to junctions, we show that tension-sensitive actin assembly is necessary for junctional integrity and effective contractility at the ZA.We conclude that tension-sensitive regulation of actin assembly represents a mechanism for epithelial cells to resolve potential design contradictions that are inherent in the way that the junctional actomyosin system is assembled. This emphasizes that maintenance and regulation of the actin scaffolds themselves influence how cells generate contractile tension.
Project description:Wnt proteins regulate many developmental processes and are required for tissue homeostasis in adult animals. The cellular responses to Wnts are manifold and are determined by the respective Wnt ligand and its specific receptor complex in the plasma membrane. Wnt receptor complexes contain a member of the Frizzled family of serpentine receptors and a co-receptor, which commonly is a single-pass transmembrane protein. Vertebrate protein tyrosine kinase 7 (PTK7) was identified as a Wnt co-receptor required for control of planar cell polarity (PCP) in frogs and mice. We found that flies homozygous for a complete knock-out of the Drosophila PTK7 homolog off track (otk) are viable and fertile and do not show PCP phenotypes. We discovered an otk paralog (otk2, CG8964), which is co-expressed with otk throughout embryonic and larval development. Otk and Otk2 bind to each other and form complexes with Frizzled, Frizzled2 and Wnt2, pointing to a function as Wnt co-receptors. Flies lacking both otk and otk2 are viable but male sterile due to defective morphogenesis of the ejaculatory duct. Overexpression of Otk causes female sterility due to malformation of the oviduct, indicating that Otk and Otk2 are specifically involved in the sexually dimorphic development of the genital tract.