Rho1 has multiple functions in Drosophila wing planar polarity

Dev Biol. 2009 Sep 1;333(1):186-99. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.06.027. Epub 2009 Jul 1.


The frizzled (fz) signaling/signal transduction pathway controls planar cell polarity in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Previous data implicated Rho1 as a component of the fz pathway in Drosophila but it was unclear how it functioned. The existence of a G Protein Binding-Formin Homology 3 (GBD-FH3) domain in Multiple Wing Hairs, a downstream component of the pathway suggested that Rho1 might function by binding to and activating Mwh. We re-examined the role of Rho1 in wing planar polarity and found that it had multiple functions. Aberrant Rho1 activity led to changes in the number of hairs formed, changes in cell shape and F-actin and changes in cellular junctions. Experiments that utilized Rho effector loop mutations argued that these phenotypes were mediated by effects of Rho1 on the cytoskeleton and not by effects on transcription. We found strong positive genetic interactions between Rho1 and mwh, that Rho1 regulated the accumulation of Mwh protein and that these two proteins could be co-immunoprecipitated. The Mwh GBD:FH3 domain was sufficient for co-immunoprecipitation with Rho1, consistent with this domain mediating the interaction. However, further experiments showed that Rho1 function in wing differentiation was not limited to interacting with Mwh. We established by genetic experiments that Rho1 could influence hair morphogenesis in the absence of mwh and that the disruption of Rho1 activity could interfere with the zig zag accumulation pattern of upstream fz pathway proteins. Thus, our results argue that in addition to its interaction with Mwh Rho1 has functions in wing planar polarity that are parallel to and upstream of fz. The upstream function may be an indirect one and associated with the requirement for normal apical basal polarity and adherens junctions for the accumulation of PCP protein complexes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / physiology
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Cell Shape / physiology
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Frizzled Receptors / metabolism
  • Hair / growth & development
  • Mutation
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development
  • Wings, Animal / physiology*
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • Actins
  • Cadherins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Frizzled Receptors
  • mwh protein, Drosophila
  • shg protein, Drosophila
  • Rho1 protein, Drosophila
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins