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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Sep 7;107(36):15810-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1004060107. Epub 2010 Aug 23.

The apical-basal cell polarity determinant Crumbs regulates Hippo signaling in Drosophila.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, 77030, USA.


Defects in apical-basal cell polarity and abnormal expression of cell polarity determinants are often associated with cancer in vertebrates. In Drosophila, abnormal expression of apical-basal determinants can cause neoplastic phenotypes, including loss of cell polarity and overproliferation. However, the pathways through which apical-basal polarity determinants affect growth are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the mechanism by which the apical determinant Crumbs (Crb) affects growth in Drosophila imaginal discs. Overexpression of Crb causes severe overproliferation, and we found that loss of Crb similarly results in overgrowth of imaginal discs. Crb gain and loss of function caused defects in Hippo signaling, a key signaling pathway that controls tissue growth in Drosophila and mammals. Manipulation of Crb levels caused the up-regulation of Hippo target genes, genetically interacted with known Hippo pathway components, and required Yorkie, a transcriptional coactivator that acts downstream in the Hippo pathway, for target gene induction and overgrowth. Interestingly, Crb regulates growth and cell polarity through different motifs in its intracellular domain. A juxtamembrane FERM domain-binding motif is responsible for growth regulation and induction of Hippo target gene expression, whereas Crb uses a PDZ-binding motif to form a complex with other polarity factors. The Hippo pathway component Expanded, an apically localized adaptor protein, is mislocalized in both crb mutant cells and Crb overexpressing tissues, whereas the other Hippo pathway components, Fat and Merlin, are unaffected. Taken together, our data show that Crb regulates growth through Hippo signaling, and thus identify Crb as a previously undescribed upstream input into the Hippo pathway.

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