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Development. 2003 Oct;130(20):4963-74. Epub 2003 Aug 20.

The Na+/K+ ATPase is required for septate junction function and epithelial tube-size control in the Drosophila tracheal system.

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1
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.

Abstract

Although the correct architecture of epithelial tubes is crucial for the function of organs such as the lung, kidney and vascular system, little is known about the molecular mechanisms that control tube size. We show that mutations in the ATPalpha alpha and nrv2 beta subunits of the Na+/K+ ATPase cause Drosophila tracheal tubes to have increased lengths and expanded diameters. ATPalpha and nrv2 mutations also disrupt stable formation of septate junctions, structures with some functional and molecular similarities to vertebrate tight junctions. The Nrv2 beta subunit isoforms have unique tube size and junctional functions because Nrv2, but not other Drosophila Na+/K+ ATPase beta subunits, can rescue nrv2 mutant phenotypes. Mutations in known septate junctions genes cause the same tracheal tube-size defects as ATPalpha and nrv2 mutations, indicating that septate junctions have a previously unidentified role in epithelial tube-size control. Double mutant analyses suggest that tube-size control by septate junctions is mediated by at least two discernable pathways, although the paracellular diffusion barrier function does not appear to involved because tube-size control and diffusion barrier function are genetically separable. Together, our results demonstrate that specific isoforms of the Na+/K+ ATPase play a crucial role in septate junction function and that septate junctions have multiple distinct functions that regulate paracellular transport and epithelial tube size.

PMID:
12930776
DOI:
10.1242/dev.00691
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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