Background: MAP4K3 is a conserved Ser/Thr kinase that has being found in connection with several signalling pathways, including the Imd, EGFR, TORC1 and JNK modules, in different organisms and experimental assays. We have analyzed the consequences of changing the levels of MAP4K3 expression in the development of the Drosophila wing, a convenient model system to characterize gene function during epithelial development.
Methodology and principal findings: Using loss-of-function mutants and over-expression conditions we find that MAP4K3 activity affects cell growth and viability in the Drosophila wing. These requirements are related to the modulation of the TORC1 and JNK signalling pathways, and are best detected when the larvae grow in a medium with low protein concentration (TORC1) or are exposed to irradiation (JNK). We also show that MAP4K3 display strong genetic interactions with different components of the InR/Tor signalling pathway, and can interact directly with the GTPases RagA and RagC and with the multi-domain kinase Tor.
Conclusions and significance: We suggest that MAP4K3 has two independent functions during wing development, one related to the activation of the JNK pathway in response to stress and other in the assembling or activation of the TORC1 complex, being critical to modulate cellular responses to changes in nutrient availability.