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J Cell Sci. 2011 Dec 1;124(Pt 23):4001-13. doi: 10.1242/jcs.086694. Epub 2011 Dec 8.

Differential regulation of adherens junction dynamics during apical-basal polarization.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 3500 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Adherens junctions (AJs) in epithelial cells are constantly turning over to modulate adhesion properties under various physiological and developmental contexts, but how such AJ dynamics are regulated during the apical-basal polarization of primary epithelia remains unclear. Here, we used new and genetically validated GFP markers of Drosophila E-cadherin (DE-cadherin, hereafter referred to as DE-Cad) and β-catenin (Armadillo, Arm) to quantitatively assay the in vivo dynamics of biosynthetic turnover and membrane redistribution by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) assays. Our data showed that membrane DE-Cad and Arm in AJs of polarizing epithelial cells had much faster biosynthetic turnover than in polarized cells. Fast biosynthetic turnover of membrane DE-Cad is independent of actin- and dynamin-based trafficking, but is microtubule-dependent. Furthermore, Arm in AJs of polarizing cells showed a faster and diffusion-based membrane redistribution that was both quantitatively and qualitatively different from the slower and exchange-based DE-Cad membrane distribution, indicating that the association of Arm with DE-Cad is more dynamic in polarizing cells, and only becomes stable in polarized epithelial cells. Consistently, biochemical assays showed that the binding of Arm to DE-Cad is weaker in polarizing cells than in polarized cells. Our data revealed that the molecular interaction between DE-Cad and Arm is modulated during apical-basal polarization, suggesting a new mechanism that might be crucial for establishing apical-basal polarity through regulating the AJ dynamics.

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