Essential roles of myosin phosphatase in the maintenance of epithelial cell integrity of Drosophila imaginal disc cells

Tomoaki Mitonaka, Yoshiyuki Muramatsu, Shin Sugiyama, Tomoaki Mizuno, Yasuyoshi Nishida
Developmental Biology 2007 September 1, 309 (1): 78-86
Reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton and contraction of actomyosin play pivotal roles in controlling cell shape changes and motility in epithelial morphogenesis. Dephosphorylation of the myosin regulatory light chain (MRLC) by myosin phosphatase is one of the key events involved. Allelic combinations producing intermediate strength mutants of the Drosophila myosin-binding subunit (DMBS) of myosin phosphatase showed imaginal discs with multilayered disrupted morphologies, and extremely mislocated cells, suggesting that DMBS is required to maintain proper epithelial organization. Clonal analyses revealed that DMBS null mutant cells appear to retract basally and localization of apical junction markers such as DE-cadherin is indetectable in most cells, whereas phosphorylated MRLC and F-actin become heavily concentrated apically, indicating misconfiguration of the apical cytoskeleton. In agreement with these findings, DMBS was found to concentrate at the apical domain suggesting its function is localized. Phenotypes similar to DMBS mutants including increased migration of cells were obtained by overexpressing the constitutive active form of MRLC or Rho-associated kinase signifying that the phenotypes are indeed caused through activation of Myosin II. The requirement of DMBS for the integrity of static epithelial cells in imaginal discs suggests that the regulation of Myosin II by DMBS has a role more general than its previously demonstrated functions in morphogenetic events.

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