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Genetics. 2009 Nov;183(3):897-904. doi: 10.1534/genetics.109.108878. Epub 2009 Sep 7.

Epithelial polarity: interactions between junctions and apical-basal machinery.

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1
Program in Developmental Biology, Sloan-Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.

Abstract

Epithelial polarity is established and maintained by competition between determinants that define the apical and basolateral domains. Cell-cell adhesion complexes, or adherens junctions, form at the interface of these regions. Mutations in adhesion components as well as apical determinants normally lead to an expansion of the basolateral domain. Here we investigate the genetic relationship between the polarity determinants and adhesion and show that the levels of the adhesion protein Armadillo affect competition. We find that in arm mutants, even a modest reduction in the basolateral component lgl leads to a full apical domain expansion or lgl phenotype. By using an allelic series of Armadillo mutations, we show that there is a threshold at which basolateral expansion can be reversed. Further, in embryos lacking the Wingless signaling component zw3, the same full apical expansion occurs again with only a reduction in lgl. We propose a model where zw3 regulates protein levels of apical and adhesion components and suggest that a reciprocal interaction between junctions and polarity modules functions to maintain stable apical and basolateral domains.

PMID:
19737741
PMCID:
PMC2778985
DOI:
10.1534/genetics.109.108878
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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