A novel role for retromer in the control of epithelial cell polarity

Commun Integr Biol. 2011 Nov 1;4(6):749-51. doi: 10.4161/cib.17658.


The establishment and maintenance of epithelial cell polarity is essential throughout the development and adult life of all multicellular organisms. A key player in maintaining epithelial polarity is Crumbs (Crb), an evolutionarily conserved type-I transmembrane protein initially identified in Drosophila. Correct Crb levels and apical localization are imperative for its function. However, as is the case for many polarized proteins, the mechanisms of its trafficking and strict apical localization are poorly understood. To address these questions, we developed a liposome-based assay to identify trafficking coats and interaction partners of Crb in a native-like environment. Thereby, we demonstrated that Crb is a cargo for Retromer, a trafficking complex required for transport from endosomes to the trans-Golgi-network. The functional importance of this interaction was revealed by studies in Drosophila epithelia, which established Retromer as a novel regulator of epithelial cell polarity and verified the vast potential of this technique.