During morphogenesis, large-scale changes of tissue primordia are coordinated all across an embryo. In Drosophila, several tissue primordia and embryonic regions are bordered or encircled by supracellular actomyosin cables, junctional actomyosin enrichments networked between many neighbouring cells. We show that the single Drosophila Alp/Enigma-family protein Zasp52, which is most prominently found in Z-discs of muscles, is a component of many supracellular actomyosin structures during embryogenesis, including the ventral midline and the boundary of the salivary gland placode. Zasp52, we uncover, contains within its central coiled-coil region a type of actin-binding motif usually found in CapZbeta proteins, and this domain displays actin-binding activity. Using endogenously-tagged lines we identify that Zasp52 interacts with junctional components, including APC2, Polychaetoid/ZO-1, and Sidekick, and actomyosin regulators. Analysis of zasp52 mutant embryos reveals that the severity of the embryonic defects observed scales inversely with the amount of functional protein left. Large tissue deformations occur where actomyosin cables are found during embryogenesis, and in vivo and in silico analyses suggest a model whereby supracellular Zasp52-containing cables aid to insulate morphogenetic changes from one another.
Keywords: Actomyosin; Cytoskeleton; Epithelium; Junctions; Morphogenesis; Supracellular cable; Tension.
© 2023. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.