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Dev Dyn. 2007 Apr;236(4):1064-71.

Isoform-specific interaction of Flamingo/Starry Night with excess Bazooka affects planar cell polarity in the Drosophila wing.

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Institut für Genetik, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.


Epithelia display two types of polarity, apical-basal and planar cell polarity (PCP), and both are crucial for morphogenesis and organogenesis. PCP signaling pathways comprise transmembrane proteins, such as Flamingo/Starry Night, and cytoplasmic, membrane-associated proteins such as Dishevelled. During establishment of PCP in the Drosophila wing, PCP proteins accumulate apically in distinct "cortical domains" on proximal and distal plasma membranes. This finding suggests that their localized function depends on prior definition of apicobasal polarity. Here, we show that overexpression of Bazooka, a PDZ-domain protein essential for apicobasal polarity in the embryo, perturbs development of PCP, but has no effect on apicobasal polarity. The PCP phenotype is associated with a failure to restrict Flamingo/Starry night to the proximal and distal plasma membranes of the wing epithelium. We further demonstrate that flamingo expresses two differentially spliced RNAs in wing imaginal discs, which encode two isoforms of the atypical cadherin Flamingo. The predominant Starry night-type form contains a PDZ-binding motif, which mediates binding to Bazooka in vitro. Pull-down assays support the occurrence of such an interaction in wing imaginal discs. The results suggest that interaction between the apicobasal and planar cell polarity systems has to be tightly coordinated to ensure proper morphogenesis of the wing disc epithelium.

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