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Nat Cell Biol. 2015 Dec;17(12):1569-76. doi: 10.1038/ncb3267. Epub 2015 Nov 9.

Transient junction anisotropies orient annular cell polarization in the Drosophila airway tubes.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden.
Cambridge Systems Biology Centre, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QR, UK.
ECCPS, University of Giessen, Aulweg 130 35392 Giessen, Germany.


In contrast to planes, three-dimensional (3D) structures such as tubes are physically anisotropic. Tubular organs exhibit a striking orientation of landmarks according to the physical anisotropy of the 3D shape, in addition to planar cell polarization. However, the influence of 3D tissue topography on the constituting cells remains underexplored. Here, we identify a regulatory network polarizing cellular biochemistry according to the physical anisotropy of the 3D tube geometry (tube cell polarization) by a genome-wide, tissue-specific RNAi screen. During Drosophila airway remodelling, each apical cellular junction is equipotent to establish perpendicular actomyosin cables, irrespective of the longitudinal or transverse tube axis. A dynamic transverse enrichment of atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) shifts the balance and transiently targets activated small GTPase RhoA, myosin phosphorylation and Rab11 vesicle trafficking to longitudinal junctions. We propose that the PAR complex translates tube physical anisotropy into longitudinal junctional anisotropy, where cell-cell communication aligns the contractile cytoskeleton of neighbouring cells.

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