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Development. 2014 Feb;141(4):929-39. doi: 10.1242/dev.103218.

Fascin links Btl/FGFR signalling to the actin cytoskeleton during Drosophila tracheal morphogenesis.

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1
Institut de Biologia Molecular de Barcelona, CSIC, Parc Científic de Barcelona, Baldiri Reixac, 4-8, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

A key challenge in normal development and in disease is to elucidate the mechanisms of cell migration. Here we approach this question using the tracheal system of Drosophila as a model. Tracheal cell migration requires the Breathless/FGFR pathway; however, how the pathway induces migration remains poorly understood. We find that the Breathless pathway upregulates singed at the tip of tracheal branches, and that this regulation is functionally relevant. singed encodes Drosophila Fascin, which belongs to a conserved family of actin-bundling proteins involved in cancer progression and metastasis upon misregulation. We show that singed is required for filopodia stiffness and proper morphology of tracheal tip cells, defects that correlate with an abnormal actin organisation. We propose that singed-regulated filopodia and cell fronts are required for timely and guided branch migration and for terminal branching and branch fusion. We find that singed requirements rely on its actin-bundling activity controlled by phosphorylation, and that active Singed can promote tip cell features. Furthermore, we find that singed acts in concert with forked, another actin cross-linker. The absence of both cross-linkers further stresses the relevance of tip cell morphology and filopodia for tracheal development. In summary, our results on the one hand reveal a previously undescribed role for forked in the organisation of transient actin structures such as filopodia, and on the other hand identify singed as a new target of Breathless signal, establishing a link between guidance cues, the actin cytoskeleton and tracheal morphogenesis.

KEYWORDS:

Actin cytoskeleton; Cell migration; Drosophila tracheal system; FGFR pathway; Fascin; Morphogenesis

PMID:
24496629
DOI:
10.1242/dev.103218
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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