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Spectrin regulates cell contractility through production and maintenance of actin bundles in the Caenorhabditis elegans spermatheca.


ABSTRACT: Disruption to the contractility of cells, including smooth muscle cells of the cardiovascular system and myoepithelial cells of the glandular epithelium, contributes to the pathophysiology of contractile tissue diseases, including asthma, hypertension, and primary Sjögren's syndrome. Cell contractility is determined by myosin activity and actomyosin network organization and is mediated by hundreds of protein-protein interactions, many directly involving actin. Here we use a candidate RNA interference screen of more than 100 Caenorhabditis elegans genes with predicted actin-binding and regulatory domains to identify genes that contribute to the contractility of the somatic gonad. We identify the spectrin cytoskeleton composed of SPC-1/?-spectrin, UNC-70/?-spectrin, and SMA-1/? heavy-spectrin as required for contractility and actin organization in the myoepithelial cells of the C. elegans spermatheca. We use imaging of fixed and live animals as well as tissue- and developmental-stage-specific disruption of the spectrin cytoskeleton to show that spectrin regulates the production of prominent central actin bundles and is required for maintenance of central actin bundles throughout successive rounds of stretch and contraction. We conclude that the spectrin cytoskeleton contributes to spermathecal contractility by promoting maintenance of the robust actomyosin bundles that drive contraction.

SUBMITTER: Wirshing ACE 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6233056 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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