ABSTRACT: The Abdominal-B selector protein induces organogenesis of the posterior spiracles by coordinating an organ-specific gene network. The complexity of this network begs the questions of how it originated and what selective pressures drove its formation. Given that the network likely formed in a piecemeal fashion, with elements recruited sequentially, we studied the consequences of expressing individual effectors of this network in naive epithelial cells. We found that, with exception of the Crossveinless-c (Cv-c) Rho GTPase-activating protein, most effectors exert little morphogenetic effect by themselves. In contrast, Cv-c expression causes cell motility and down-regulates epithelial polarity and cell adhesion proteins. These effects differ in cells endogenously expressing Cv-c, which have acquired compensatory mechanisms. In spiracle cells, the down-regulation of polarity and E-cadherin expression caused by Cv-c-induced Rho1 inactivation are compensated for by the simultaneous spiracle up-regulation of guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) proteins, cell polarity, and adhesion molecules. Other epithelial cells that have coopted Cv-c to their morphogenetic gene networks are also resistant to Cv-c's deleterious effects. We propose that cooption of a novel morphogenetic regulator to a selector cascade causes cellular instability, resulting in strong selective pressure that leads that same cascade to recruit molecules that compensate it. This experimental-based hypothesis proposes how the frequently observed complex organogenetic gene networks are put together.
Project description:Organogenesis is controlled by gene networks activated by upstream selector genes. During development the gene network is activated stepwise, with a sequential deployment of successive transcription factors and signalling molecules that modify the interaction of the elements of the network as the organ forms. Very little is known about the steps leading from the early specification of the cells that form the organ primordium to the moment when a robust gene network is in place. Here we study in detail how a Hox protein induces during early embryogenesis a simple organogenetic cascade that matures into a complex gene network through the activation of feedback and feed forward interaction loops. To address how the network organization changes during development and how the target genes integrate the genetic information it provides, we analyze in Drosophila the induction of posterior spiracle organogenesis by the Hox gene Abdominal-B (Abd-B). Initially, Abd-B activates in the spiracle primordium a cascade of transcription factors and signalling molecules including the JAK/STAT signalling pathway. We find that at later stages STAT activity feeds back directly into Abd-B, initiating the transformation of the Hox cascade into a gene-network. Focusing on crumbs, a spiracle downstream target gene of Abd-B, we analyze how a modular cis regulatory element integrates the dynamic network information set by Abd-B and the JAK/STAT signalling pathway during development. We describe how a Hox induced genetic cascade transforms into a robust gene network during organogenesis due to the repeated interaction of Abd-B and one of its targets, the JAK/STAT signalling cascade. Our results show that in this network STAT functions not just as a direct transcription factor, but also acts as a "counter-repressor", uncovering a novel mode for STAT directed transcriptional regulation.
Project description:The Twisted gastrulation (Tsg) proteins are modulators of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) activity in both vertebrates and insects. We find that the crossveinless (cv) gene of Drosophila encodes a new tsg-like gene. Genetic experiments show that cv, similarly to tsg, interacts with short gastrulation (sog) to modulate BMP signalling. Despite this common property, Cv shows a different BMP ligand specificity as compared with Tsg, and its expression is limited to the developing wing. These findings and the presence of two types of Tsg-like protein in several insects suggest that Cv represents a subgroup of the Tsg-like BMP-modulating proteins.
Project description:Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are secreted growth factors that promote differentiation processes in embryogenesis and tissue development. Regulation of BMP signaling involves binding to a variety of extracellular proteins, among which are many von Willebrand factor C (vWC) domain-containing proteins. Although the crystal structure of the complex of crossveinless-2 (CV-2) vWC1 and BMP-2 previously revealed one mode of the vWC/BMP-binding mechanism, other vWC domains may bind to BMP differently. Here, using X-ray crystallography, we present for the first time structures of the vWC domains of two proteins thought to interact with BMP-2: collagen IIA and matricellular protein CCN3. We found that these two vWC domains share a similar N-terminal fold that differs greatly from that in CV-2 vWC, which comprises its BMP-2-binding site. We analyzed the ability of these vWC domains to directly bind to BMP-2 and detected an interaction only between the collagen IIa vWC and BMP-2. Guided by the collagen IIa vWC domain crystal structure and conservation of surface residues among orthologous domains, we mapped the BMP-binding epitope on the subdomain 1 of the vWC domain. This binding site is different from that previously observed in the complex between CV-2 vWC and BMP-2, revealing an alternative mode of interaction between vWC domains and BMPs.
Project description:To achieve the "constancy of the wild-type," the developing organism must be buffered against stochastic fluctuations and environmental perturbations. This phenotypic buffering has been theorized to arise from a variety of genetic mechanisms and is widely thought to be adaptive and essential for viability. In the Drosophila blastoderm embryo, staining with antibodies against the active, phosphorylated form of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signal transducer Mad, pMad, or visualization of the spatial pattern of BMP-receptor interactions reveals a spatially bistable pattern of BMP signaling centered on the dorsal midline. This signaling event is essential for the specification of dorsal cell fates, including the extraembryonic amnioserosa. BMP signaling is initiated by facilitated extracellular diffusion that localizes BMP ligands dorsally. BMP signaling then activates an intracellular positive feedback circuit that promotes future BMP-receptor interactions. Here, we identify a genetic network comprising three genes that canalizes this BMP signaling event. The BMP target eiger (egr) acts in the positive feedback circuit to promote signaling, while the BMP binding protein encoded by crossveinless-2 (cv-2) antagonizes signaling. Expression of both genes requires the early activity of the homeobox gene zerknüllt (zen). Two Drosophila species lacking early zen expression have high variability in BMP signaling. These data both detail a new mechanism that generates developmental canalization and identify an example of a species with noncanalized axial patterning.
Project description:RhoGAP proteins control the precise regulation of the ubiquitous small RhoGTPases. The Drosophila Crossveinless-c (Cv-c) RhoGAP is homologous to the human tumour suppressor proteins Deleted in Liver Cancer 1-3 (DLC1-3) sharing an identical arrangement of SAM, GAP and START protein domains. Here we analyse in Drosophila the requirement of each Cv-c domain to its function and cellular localization. We show that the basolateral membrane association of Cv-c is key for its epithelial function and find that the GAP domain targeted to the membrane can perform its RhoGAP activity independently of the rest of the protein, implying the SAM and START domains perform regulatory roles. We propose the SAM domain has a repressor effect over the GAP domain that is counteracted by the START domain, while the basolateral localization is mediated by a central, non-conserved Cv-c region. We find that DLC3 and Cv-c expression in the Drosophila ectoderm cause identical effects. In contrast, DLC1 is inactive but becomes functional if the central non-conserved DLC1 domain is substituted for that of Cv-c. Thus, these RhoGAP proteins are functionally equivalent, opening up the use of Drosophila as an in vivo model to analyse pharmacologically and genetically the human DLC proteins.
Project description:A variety of extracellular factors regulate morphogenesis during development. However, coordination between extracellular signaling and dynamic morphogenesis is largely unexplored. We address the fundamental question by studying posterior crossvein (PCV) development in Drosophila as a model, in which long-range BMP transport from the longitudinal veins plays a critical role during the pupal stages. Here, we show that RhoGAP Crossveinless-C (Cv-C) is induced at the PCV primordial cells by BMP signaling and mediates PCV morphogenesis cell-autonomously by inactivating members of the Rho-type small GTPases. Intriguingly, we find that Cv-C is also required non-cell-autonomously for BMP transport into the PCV region, while a long-range BMP transport is guided toward ectopic wing vein regions by loss of the Rho-type small GTPases. We present evidence that low level of ß-integrin accumulation at the basal side of PCV epithelial cells regulated by Cv-C provides an optimal extracellular environment for guiding BMP transport. These data suggest that BMP transport and PCV morphogenesis are tightly coupled. Our study reveals a feed-forward mechanism that coordinates the spatial distribution of extracellular instructive cues and morphogenesis. The coupling mechanism may be widely utilized to achieve precise morphogenesis during development and homeostasis.
Project description:Apical actomyosin activity in animal epithelial cells influences tissue morphology and drives morphogenetic movements during development. The molecular mechanisms leading to myosin II accumulation at the apical membrane and its exclusion from other membranes are poorly understood. We show that in the nonmetazoan Dictyostelium discoideum, myosin II localizes apically in tip epithelial cells that surround the stalk, and constriction of this epithelial tube is required for proper morphogenesis. IQGAP1 and its binding partner cortexillin I function downstream of ?- and ?-catenin to exclude myosin II from the basolateral cortex and promote apical accumulation of myosin II. Deletion of IQGAP1 or cortexillin compromises epithelial morphogenesis without affecting cell polarity. These results reveal that apical localization of myosin II is a conserved morphogenetic mechanism from nonmetazoans to vertebrates and identify a hierarchy of proteins that regulate the polarity and organization of an epithelial tube in a simple model organism.
Project description:In Drosophila, the secreted BMP-binding protein Short gastrulation (Sog) inhibits signaling by sequestering BMPs from receptors, but enhances signaling by transporting BMPs through tissues. We show that Crossveinless 2 (Cv-2) is also a secreted BMP-binding protein that enhances or inhibits BMP signaling. Unlike Sog, however, Cv-2 does not promote signaling by transporting BMPs. Rather, Cv-2 binds cell surfaces and heparan sulfate proteoglygans and acts over a short range. Cv-2 binds the type I BMP receptor Thickveins (Tkv), and we demonstrate how the exchange of BMPs between Cv-2 and receptor can produce the observed biphasic response to Cv-2 concentration, where low levels promote and high levels inhibit signaling. Importantly, we show also how the concentration or type of BMP present can determine whether Cv-2 promotes or inhibits signaling. We also find that Cv-2 expression is controlled by BMP signaling, and these combined properties enable Cv-2 to exquisitely tune BMP signaling.
Project description:Sleep is under homeostatic control, but the mechanisms that sense sleep need and correct sleep deficits remain unknown. Here, we report that sleep-promoting neurons with projections to the dorsal fan-shaped body (FB) form the output arm of Drosophila's sleep homeostat. Homeostatic sleep control requires the Rho-GTPase-activating protein encoded by the crossveinless-c (cv-c) gene in order to transduce sleep pressure into increased electrical excitability of dorsal FB neurons. cv-c mutants exhibit decreased sleep time, diminished sleep rebound, and memory deficits comparable to those after sleep loss. Targeted ablation and rescue of Cv-c in sleep-control neurons of the dorsal FB impair and restore, respectively, normal sleep patterns. Sleep deprivation increases the excitability of dorsal FB neurons, but this homeostatic adjustment is disrupted in short-sleeping cv-c mutants. Sleep pressure thus shifts the input-output function of sleep-promoting neurons toward heightened activity by modulating ion channel function in a mechanism dependent on Cv-c.
Project description:The mechanisms controlling cell shape changes within epithelial monolayers for tissue formation and reorganization remain unclear. Here, we investigate the role of dynamin, a large GTPase, in epithelial morphogenesis. Depletion of dynamin 2 (Dyn2), the only dynamin in epithelial cells, prevents establishment and maintenance of epithelial polarity, with no junctional formation and abnormal actin organization. Expression of Dyn2 mutants shifted to a non-GTP state, by contrast, causes dramatic apical constriction without disrupting polarity. This is due to Dyn2's interactions with deacetylated cortactin and downstream effectors, which cause enhanced actomyosin contraction. Neither inhibitors of endocytosis nor GTP-shifted Dyn2 mutants induce apical constriction. This suggests that GTPase-dependent changes in Dyn2 lead to interactions with different effectors that may differentially modulate endocytosis and/or actomyosin dynamics in polarized cells. We propose this enables Dyn2 to coordinate, in a GTPase-dependent manner, membrane recycling and actomyosin contractility during epithelial morphogenesis.