Regulation of cell architecture is critical in the formation of tissues during animal development. The mechanisms that control cell shape must be both dynamic and stable in order to establish and maintain the correct cellular organization. Previous work has identified Shroom family proteins as essential regulators of cell morphology during vertebrate development. Shroom proteins regulate cell architecture by directing the subcellular distribution and activation of Rho-kinase, which results in the localized activation of non-muscle myosin II. Because the Shroom-Rock-myosin II module is conserved in most animal model systems, we have utilized Drosophila melanogaster to further investigate the pathways and components that are required for Shroom to define cell shape and tissue architecture. Using a phenotype-based heterozygous F1 genetic screen for modifiers of Shroom activity, we identified several cytoskeletal and signaling protein that may cooperate with Shroom. We show that two of these proteins, Enabled and Short stop, are required for ShroomA-induced changes in tissue morphology and are apically enriched in response to Shroom expression. While the recruitment of Ena is necessary, it is not sufficient to redefine cell morphology. Additionally, this requirement for Ena appears to be context dependent, as a variant of Shroom that is apically localized, binds to Rock, but lacks the Ena binding site, is still capable of inducing changes in tissue architecture. These data point to important cellular pathways that may regulate contractility or facilitate Shroom-mediated changes in cell and tissue morphology.
Keywords: Cytoskeleton; Drosophila; Epithelia; Morphogenesis; Shroom.
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