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Dev Cell. 2011 Apr 19;20(4):511-25. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2011.03.018.

Dynamics of core planar polarity protein turnover and stable assembly into discrete membrane subdomains.

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MRC Centre for Developmental and Biomedical Genetics, and Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.


The core planar polarity proteins localize asymmetrically to the adherens junctions of epithelial cells, where they have been hypothesized to assemble into intercellular complexes. Here, we show that the core proteins are preferentially distributed to discrete membrane subdomains ("puncta"), where they form asymmetric contacts between neighboring cells. Using an antibody internalization assay and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching in prepupal and pupal wings, we have investigated the turnover of two key core proteins, Flamingo and Frizzled, and find that the localization of both within puncta is highly stable. Furthermore, the transmembrane core proteins, Flamingo, Frizzled, and Strabismus, are necessary for stable localization of core proteins to junctions, whereas the cytoplasmic core proteins are required for their concentration into puncta. Thus, we define the distinct roles of specific core proteins in the formation of asymmetric contacts between cells, which is a key event in the generation of coordinated cellular asymmetry.

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