The circumferential actomyosin belt in epithelial cells is regulated by the Lulu2-p114RhoGEF system

Small GTPases. Apr-Jun 2012;3(2):91-6. doi: 10.4161/sgtp.19112.


In epithelial cells, myosin-II-dependent forces regulate many aspects of animal morphogenesis, such as apical constriction, cell intercalation, cell sorting, and the formation and maintenance of the adherens junction. These forces are mainly generated by the circumferential actomyosin belt, which is composed of F-actin-myosin II bundles located along apical cell-cell junctions. Although several of the molecular pathways regulating the belt have been identified, the precise mechanisms underlying its function are largely unknown. Our recent studies identified Lulu proteins (Lulu1 and Lulu2), FERM-domain-containing molecules, as the regulators of the belt. Lulus activate the circumferential actomyosin belt and thereby induce apical constriction in epithelial cells; conversely, RNAi-mediated Lulu-knockdown results in the severe disorganization of the circumferential actomyosin belt. We also showed that p114RhoGEF is a downstream molecule of Lulu2 in its regulation of the belt; Lulu2 enhances the catalytic activity of p114RhoGEF through a direct interaction and thereby activates the circumferential actomyosin belt. We further identified aPKC and Patj as regulators of Lulu2-p114RhoGEF. In this commentary, we discuss current knowledge of the circumferential actomyosin belt's regulation, focusing on the Lulu2-p114RhoGEF system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actomyosin / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • LULU2 protein, mouse
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Actomyosin
  • PKC-3 protein
  • Protein Kinase C