The role of RhoA in tissue polarity and Frizzled signalling

Nature. 1997 May 15;387(6630):292-5. doi: 10.1038/387292a0.


The tissue polarity genes of Drosophila are required for correct establishment of planar polarity in epidermal structures, which in the eye is shown in the mirror-image symmetric arrangement of ommatidia relative to the dorsoventral midline. Mutations in the genes frizzled (fz), dishevelled (dsh) and prickle-spiny-legs (pk-sple) result in the loss of this mirror-image symmetry. fz encodes a serpentine receptor-like transmembrane protein required for reception and transmission of a polarity signal. Little else is known of the signalling pathway(s) involved other than that Dsh acts downstream of Fz. We have identified mutations in the Drosophila homologue of RhoA p21 GTPase, and by analysis of their phenotype show that RhoA is required for the generation of tissue polarity. Genetic interactions indicate a role for RhoA in signalling mediated by Fz and Dsh, and furthermore suggest that JNK/SAPK-like kinases are involved. These data are consistent with a Fz/RhoA signalling cascade analogous to the yeast pheromone signalling pathway and that proposed for activation of the serum response factor (SRF) in vertebrate cells.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Animals
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Dishevelled Proteins
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / enzymology
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Frizzled Receptors
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / genetics
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / physiology*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases*
  • Mutation
  • Phosphoproteins*
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / embryology
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / metabolism
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Wings, Animal / cytology
  • Wings, Animal / embryology
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Dishevelled Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Frizzled Receptors
  • Insect Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • dsh protein, Drosophila
  • fz protein, Drosophila
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein