Cadherin Cad99C is required for normal microvilli morphology in Drosophila follicle cells

J Cell Sci. 2006 Mar 15;119(Pt 6):1184-95. doi: 10.1242/jcs.02831. Epub 2006 Feb 28.


Microvilli are actin-filled membranous extensions common to epithelial cells. Several proteins have been identified that localize to microvilli. However, most of these proteins are dispensable for the normal morphogenesis of microvilli. Here, we show by immunoelectron microscopy that the non-classical cadherin Cad99C localizes to microvilli of Drosophila ovarian follicle cells. Loss of Cad99C function leads to disorganized and abnormal follicle cell microvilli. Conversely, overexpression of Cad99C in follicle cells results in large bundles of microvilli. Furthermore, altered microvilli morphology correlates with defects in the assembly of the vitelline membrane, an extracellular layer secreted by follicle cells that is part of the eggshell. Finally, we provide evidence that Cad99C is the homolog of vertebrate protocadherin 15. Mutations in the gene encoding protocadherin 15 lead to the disorganization of stereocilia, which are microvilli-derived extensions of cochlear hair cells, and deafness (Usher syndrome type 1F). Our data suggest an essential role for Cad99C in microvilli morphogenesis that is important for follicle cell function. Furthermore, these results indicate that insects and vertebrates use related cadherins to organize microvilli-like cellular extensions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherin Related Proteins
  • Cadherins / genetics*
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Drosophila / metabolism*
  • Drosophila / ultrastructure
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Female
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microvilli / genetics
  • Microvilli / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Ovary / ultrastructure*


  • CDHR15, human
  • Cadherin Related Proteins
  • Cadherins
  • Drosophila Proteins