Molecular interactions between Vestigial and Scalloped promote wing formation in Drosophila.
Genes & Development. 12:3815-20. Abstract
Scalloped (Sd) and Vestigial (Vg) are each needed for Drosophila wing development. We show that Sd is required for Vg function and that altering their relative cellular levels inhibits wing formation. In vitro, Vg binds directly to both Sd and its human homolog, Transcription Enhancer Factor-1. The interaction domains map to a small region of Vg that is essential for Vg-mediated gene activation and to the carboxy-terminal half of Sd. Our observations indicate that Vg and Sd function coordinately to control the expression of genes required for wing development, which implies that Vg is a tissue-specific transcriptional intermediary factor of Sd.
Modulation of Fat:Dachsous binding by the cadherin domain kinase four-jointed.
Current biology : CB. 20:811-7. Abstract
In addition to quantitative differences in morphogen signaling specifying cell fates, the vector and slope of morphogen gradients influence planar cell polarity (PCP) and growth. The cadherin Fat plays a central role in this process. Fat regulates PCP and growth through distinct downstream pathways, each involving the establishment of molecular polarity within cells. Fat is regulated by the cadherin Dachsous (Ds) and the protein kinase Four-jointed (Fj), which are expressed in gradients in many tissues. Previous studies have implied that Fat is regulated by the vector and slope of these expression gradients. Here, we characterize how cells interpret the Fj gradient. We demonstrate that Fj both promotes the ability of Fat to bind to its ligand Ds and inhibits the ability of Ds to bind Fat. Consequently, the juxtaposition of cells with differing Fj expression results in asymmetric Fat:Ds binding. We also show that the influence of Fj on Fat is a direct consequence of Fat phosphorylation and identify a phosphorylation site important for the stimulation of Fat:Ds binding by Fj. Our results define a molecular mechanism by which a morphogen gradient can drive the polarization of Fat activity to influence PCP and growth.
Warts and yorkie mediate intestinal regeneration by influencing stem cell proliferation.
Current biology : CB. 20:1580-7. Abstract
Homeostasis in the Drosophila midgut is maintained by stem cells [1, 2]. The intestinal epithelium contains two types of differentiated cells that are lost and replenished: enteroendocrine (EE) cells and enterocytes (ECs). Intestinal stem cells (ISCs) are the only cells in the adult midgut that proliferate [3, 4], and ISC divisions give rise to an ISC and an enteroblast (EB), which differentiates into an EC or an EE cell [3-5]. If the midgut epithelium is damaged, then ISC proliferation increases [6-12]. Damaged ECs express secreted ligands (Unpaired proteins) that activate Jak-Stat signaling in ISCs and EBs to promote their proliferation and differentiation [7, 9, 13, 14]. We show that the Hippo pathway components Warts and Yorkie mediate a transition from low- to high-level ISC proliferation to facilitate regeneration. The Hippo pathway regulates growth in diverse organisms and has been linked to cancer [15, 16]. Yorkie is activated in ECs in response to tissue damage or activation of the damage-sensing Jnk pathway. Activation of Yorkie promotes expression of unpaired genes and triggers a nonautonomous increase in ISC proliferation. Our observations uncover a role for Hippo pathway components in regulating stem cell proliferation and intestinal regeneration.
Distinct contributions of beta 4GalNAcTA and beta 4GalNAcTB to Drosophila glycosphingolipid biosynthesis.
Glycoconjugate Journal. 25:167-75. Abstract
Drosophila melanogaster has two beta4-N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferases, beta4GalNAcTA and beta4GalNAcTB, that are able to catalyse the formation of lacdiNAc (GalNAcbeta,4GlcNAc). LacdiNAc is found as a structural element of Drosophila glycosphingolipids (GSLs) suggesting that beta4GalNAcTs contribute to the generation of GSL structures in vivo. Mutations in Egghead and Brainaic, enzymes that generate the beta4GalNAcT trisaccharide acceptor structure GlcNAcbeta,3Manbeta,4GlcbetaCer, are lethal. In contrast, flies doubly mutant for the beta4GalNAcTs are viable and fertile. Here, we describe the structural analysis of the GSLs in beta4GalNAcT mutants and find that in double mutant flies no lacdiNAc structure is generated and the trisaccharide GlcNAcbeta,3Manbeta,4GlcbetaCer accumulates. We also find that phosphoethanolamine transfer to GlcNAc in the trisaccharide does not occur, demonstrating that this step is dependent on prior or simultaneous transfer of GalNAc. By comparing GSL structures generated in the beta4GalNAcT single mutants we show that beta4GalNAcTB is the major enzyme for the overall GSL biosynthesis in adult flies. In beta4GalNAcTA mutants, composition of GSL structures is indistinguishable from wild-type animals. However, in beta4GalNAcTB mutants precursor structures are accumulating in different steps of GSL biosynthesis, without the complete loss of lacdiNAc, indicating that beta4GalNAcTA plays a minor role in generating GSL structures. Together our results demonstrate that both beta4GalNAcTs are able to generate lacdiNAc structures in Drosophila GSL, although with different contributions in vivo, and that the trisaccharide GlcNAcbeta,3Manbeta,4GlcbetaCer is sufficient to avoid the major phenotypic consequences associated with the GSL biosynthetic defects in Brainiac or Egghead.
Regulation of Hippo signaling by Jun kinase signaling during compensatory cell proliferation and regeneration, and in neoplastic tumors.
Developmental biology. 350:139-51. Abstract
When cells undergo apoptosis, they can stimulate the proliferation of nearby cells, a process referred to as compensatory cell proliferation. The stimulation of proliferation in response to tissue damage or removal is also central to epimorphic regeneration. The Hippo signaling pathway has emerged as an important regulator of growth during normal development and oncogenesis from Drosophila to humans. Here we show that induction of apoptosis in the Drosophila wing imaginal disc stimulates activation of the Hippo pathway transcription factor Yorkie in surviving and nearby cells, and that Yorkie is required for the ability of the wing to regenerate after genetic ablation of the wing primordia. Induction of apoptosis activates Yorkie through the Jun kinase pathway, and direct activation of Jun kinase signaling also promotes Yorkie activation in the wing disc. We also show that depletion of neoplastic tumor suppressor genes, including lethal giant larvae and discs large, or activation of aPKC, activates Yorkie through Jun kinase signaling, and that Jun kinase activation is necessary, but not sufficient, for the disruption of apical-basal polarity associated with loss of lethal giant larvae. Our observations identify Jnk signaling as a modulator of Hippo pathway activity in wing imaginal discs, and implicate Yorkie activation in compensatory cell proliferation and disc regeneration.