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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 25;8(11):e81854. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081854. eCollection 2013.

Lulu regulates Shroom-induced apical constriction during neural tube closure.

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Department of Developmental and Regenerative Biology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, United States of America.


Apical constriction is an essential cell behavior during neural tube closure, but its underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Lulu, or EPB4.1l5, is a FERM domain protein that has been implicated in apical constriction and actomyosin contractility in mouse embryos and cultured cells. Interference with the function of Lulu in Xenopus embryos by a specific antisense morpholino oligonucleotide or a carboxy-terminal fragment of Lulu impaired apical constriction during neural plate hinge formation. This effect was likely due to lack of actomyosin contractility in superficial neuroectodermal cells. By contrast, overexpression of Lulu RNA in embryonic ectoderm cells triggered ectopic apico-basal elongation and apical constriction, accompanied by the apical recruitment of F-actin. Depletion of endogenous Lulu disrupted the localization and activity of Shroom3, a PDZ-containing actin-binding protein that has also been implicated in apical constriction. Furthermore, Lulu and Shroom3 RNAs cooperated in triggering ectopic apical constriction in embryonic ectoderm. Our findings reveal that Lulu is essential for Shroom3-dependent apical constriction during vertebrate neural tube closure.

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