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α-Spectrin and integrins act together to regulate actomyosin and columnarization, and to maintain a monolayered follicular epithelium.

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Ng, Bing Fu 
Selvaraj, Gokul Kannan 
Santa-Cruz Mateos, Carmen 
Grosheva, Inna 
Alvarez-Garcia, Ines 


The spectrin cytoskeleton crosslinks actin to the membrane, and although it has been greatly studied in erythrocytes, much is unknown about its function in epithelia. We have studied the role of spectrins during epithelia morphogenesis using the Drosophila follicular epithelium (FE). As previously described, we show that α-Spectrin and β-Spectrin are essential to maintain a monolayered FE, but, contrary to previous work, spectrins are not required to control proliferation. Furthermore, spectrin mutant cells show differentiation and polarity defects only in the ectopic layers of stratified epithelia, similar to integrin mutants. Our results identify α-Spectrin and integrins as novel regulators of apical constriction-independent cell elongation, as α-Spectrin and integrin mutant cells fail to columnarize. Finally, we show that increasing and reducing the activity of the Rho1-Myosin II pathway enhances and decreases multilayering of α-Spectrin cells, respectively. Similarly, higher Myosin II activity enhances the integrin multilayering phenotype. This work identifies a primary role for α-Spectrin in controlling cell shape, perhaps by modulating actomyosin. In summary, we suggest that a functional spectrin-integrin complex is essential to balance adequate forces, in order to maintain a monolayered epithelium.



Cell shape, Epithelium, Monolayer, Proliferation, Tissue architecture, Tumor-like mass, Actomyosin, Animals, Cell Differentiation, Cell Polarity, Cell Shape, Cytoskeleton, Drosophila, Drosophila Proteins, Epithelium, Female, Integrins, Mitosis, Mutation, Oocytes, Ovarian Follicle, Spectrin

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The Company of Biologists
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/L001748/1)
Wellcome Trust (087899/Z/08/Z)
BFN was supported by Singapore Ministry of Education; GKS by the BBSRC; IAG by the Wellcome Trust, the BBSRC and the Isaac Newton Trust (Cambridge, UK); CSCM and MDMB by the “Ministerio de Economía y Competiti vidad”,the FEDER programme (BFU2013-48988-C2-1-P), and Junta de Andalucía (Proyecto de Excelencia P09-CVI-5058); IG by a JAE-DOC (CSIC); and IMP by the Wellcome Trust, the BBSRC, the Department of Zoology (Cambridge) and the University of Cambridge.