Cell-cell junctions are dynamic structures that maintain cell cohesion and shape in epithelial tissues. During development, junctions undergo extensive rearrangements to drive the epithelial remodelling required for morphogenesis. This is particularly evident during axis elongation, where neighbour exchanges, cell-cell rearrangements and oriented cell divisions lead to large-scale alterations in tissue shape. Polarised vesicle trafficking of junctional components by the exocyst complex has been proposed to promote junctional rearrangements during epithelial remodelling, but the receptors that allow exocyst docking to the target membranes remain poorly understood. Here, we show that the adherens junction component Ras Association domain family 8 (RASSF8) is required for the epithelial re-ordering that occurs during Drosophila pupal wing proximo-distal elongation. We identify the exocyst component Sec15 as a RASSF8 interactor. Loss of RASSF8 elicits cytoplasmic accumulation of Sec15 and Rab11-containing vesicles. These vesicles also contain the nectin-like homophilic adhesion molecule Echinoid, the depletion of which phenocopies the wing elongation and epithelial packing defects observed in RASSF8 mutants. Thus, our results suggest that RASSF8 promotes exocyst-dependent docking of Echinoid-containing vesicles during morphogenesis.
Keywords: Drosophila; Cell junctions; Development; Epithelium; Exocyst; Wing.
© 2021. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.