Protein phosphatase 1 activity controls a balance between collective and single cell modes of migration

Elife. 2020 May 5:9:e52979. doi: 10.7554/eLife.52979.


Collective cell migration is central to many developmental and pathological processes. However, the mechanisms that keep cell collectives together and coordinate movement of multiple cells are poorly understood. Using the Drosophila border cell migration model, we find that Protein phosphatase 1 (Pp1) activity controls collective cell cohesion and migration. Inhibition of Pp1 causes border cells to round up, dissociate, and move as single cells with altered motility. We present evidence that Pp1 promotes proper levels of cadherin-catenin complex proteins at cell-cell junctions within the cluster to keep border cells together. Pp1 further restricts actomyosin contractility to the cluster periphery rather than at individual internal border cell contacts. We show that the myosin phosphatase Pp1 complex, which inhibits non-muscle myosin-II (Myo-II) activity, coordinates border cell shape and cluster cohesion. Given the high conservation of Pp1 complexes, this study identifies Pp1 as a major regulator of collective versus single cell migration.

Keywords: D. melanogaster; cell adhesion; cell biology; cell collective; cell migration; developmental biology; myosin; protein phosphatases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes / genetics
  • Genes / physiology
  • Male
  • Protein Phosphatase 1 / genetics
  • Protein Phosphatase 1 / metabolism
  • Protein Phosphatase 1 / physiology*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Protein Phosphatase 1