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Two distinct mechanisms of Plexin A function in Drosophila optic lobe lamination and morphogenesis

Bustillo, Maria E; Douthit, Jessica; Astigarraga, Sergio; Treisman, Jessica E
Visual circuit development is characterized by subdivision of neuropils into layers that house distinct sets of synaptic connections. We find that, in the Drosophila medulla, this layered organization depends on the axon guidance regulator Plexin A. In Plexin A null mutants, synaptic layers of the medulla neuropil and arborizations of individual neurons are wider and less distinct than in controls. Analysis of semaphorin function indicates that Semaphorin 1a, acting in a subset of medulla neurons, is the primary partner for Plexin A in medulla lamination. Removal of the cytoplasmic domain of endogenous Plexin A has little effect on the formation of medulla layers; however, both null and cytoplasmic domain deletion mutations of Plexin A result in an altered overall shape of the medulla neuropil. These data suggest that Plexin A acts as a receptor to mediate morphogenesis of the medulla neuropil, and as a ligand for Semaphorin 1a to subdivide it into layers. Its two independent functions illustrate how a few guidance molecules can organize complex brain structures by each playing multiple roles.
PMID: 38738602
ISSN: 1477-9129
CID: 5654082

Sidekick dynamically rebalances contractile and protrusive forces to control tissue morphogenesis

Malin, Jacob; Rosa Birriel, Christian; Astigarraga, Sergio; Treisman, Jessica E; Hatini, Victor
Contractile actomyosin and protrusive branched F-actin networks interact in a dynamic balance, repeatedly contracting and expanding apical cell contacts to organize the epithelium of the developing fly retina. Previously we showed that the immunoglobulin superfamily protein Sidekick (Sdk) contributes to contraction by recruiting the actin binding protein Polychaetoid (Pyd) to vertices. Here we show that as tension increases during contraction, Sdk progressively accumulates at vertices, where it toggles to recruit the WAVE regulatory complex (WRC) to promote actin branching and protrusion. Sdk alternately interacts with the WRC and Pyd using the same C-terminal motif. With increasing protrusion, levels of Sdk and the WRC decrease at vertices while levels of Pyd increase paving the way for another round of contraction. Thus, by virtue of dynamic association with vertices and interchangeable associations with contractile and protrusive effectors, Sdk is central to controlling the balance between contraction and expansion that shapes this epithelium.
PMID: 35258563
ISSN: 1540-8140
CID: 5190362

The Blimp-1 transcription factor acts in non-neuronal cells to regulate terminal differentiation of the Drosophila eye

Wang, Hongsu; Morrison, Carolyn A; Ghosh, Neha; Tea, Joy S; Call, Gerald B; Treisman, Jessica E
The formation of a functional organ such as the eye requires specification of the correct cell types and their terminal differentiation into cells with the appropriate morphologies and functions. Here, we show that the zinc-finger transcription factor Blimp-1 acts in secondary and tertiary pigment cells in the Drosophila retina to promote the formation of a bi-convex corneal lens with normal refractive power, and in cone cells to enable complete extension of the photoreceptor rhabdomeres. Blimp-1 expression depends on the hormone ecdysone, and loss of ecdysone signaling causes similar differentiation defects. Timely termination of Blimp-1 expression is also important, as its overexpression in the eye has deleterious effects. Our transcriptomic analysis revealed that Blimp-1 regulates the expression of many structural and secreted proteins in the retina. Blimp-1 may function in part by repressing another transcription factor; Slow border cells is highly upregulated in the absence of Blimp-1, and its overexpression reproduces many of the effects of removing Blimp-1. This work provides insight into the transcriptional networks and cellular interactions that produce the structures necessary for visual function.
PMID: 35297965
ISSN: 1477-9129
CID: 5200302

An exon junction complex-independent function of Barentsz in neuromuscular synapse growth

Ho, Cheuk Hei; Paolantoni, Chiara; Bawankar, Praveen; Tang, Zuojian; Brown, Stuart; Roignant, Jean-Yves; Treisman, Jessica E
The exon junction complex controls the translation, degradation, and localization of spliced mRNAs, and three of its core subunits also play a role in splicing. Here, we show that a fourth subunit, Barentsz, has distinct functions within and separate from the exon junction complex in Drosophila neuromuscular development. The distribution of mitochondria in larval muscles requires Barentsz as well as other exon junction complex subunits and is not rescued by a Barentsz transgene in which residues required for binding to the core subunit eIF4AIII are mutated. In contrast, interactions with the exon junction complex are not required for Barentsz to promote the growth of neuromuscular synapses. We find that the Activin ligand Dawdle shows reduced expression in barentsz mutants and acts downstream of Barentsz to control synapse growth. Both barentsz and dawdle are required in motor neurons, muscles, and glia for normal synapse growth, and exogenous Dawdle can rescue synapse growth in the absence of barentsz. These results identify a biological function for Barentsz that is independent of the exon junction complex.
PMID: 34726300
ISSN: 1469-3178
CID: 5038002

R7 photoreceptor axon targeting depends on the relative levels of lost and found expression in R7 and its synaptic partners

Douthit, Jessica; Hairston, Ariel; Lee, Gina; Morrison, Carolyn Arlene; Holguera, Isabel; Treisman, Jessica E
As neural circuits form, growing processes select the correct synaptic partners through interactions between cell surface proteins. The presence of such proteins on two neuronal processes may lead to either adhesion or repulsion; however, the consequences of mismatched expression have rarely been explored. Here we show that the Drosophila CUB-LDL protein Lost and found (Loaf) is required in the UV-sensitive R7 photoreceptor for normal axon targeting only when Loaf is also present in its synaptic partners. Although targeting occurs normally in loaf mutant animals, removing loaf from photoreceptors or expressing it in their postsynaptic neurons Tm5a/b or Dm9 in a loaf mutant causes mistargeting of R7 axons. Loaf localizes primarily to intracellular vesicles including endosomes. We propose that Loaf regulates the trafficking or function of one or more cell surface proteins, and an excess of these proteins on the synaptic partners of R7 prevents the formation of stable connections.
PMID: 34003117
ISSN: 2050-084x
CID: 4876942

Specific Isoforms of the Guanine-Nucleotide Exchange Factor dPix Couple Neuromuscular Synapse Growth to Muscle Growth

Ho, Cheuk Hei; Treisman, Jessica E
Developmental growth requires coordination between the growth rates of individual tissues and organs. Here, we examine how Drosophila neuromuscular synapses grow to match the size of their target muscles. We show that changes in muscle growth driven by autonomous modulation of insulin receptor signaling produce corresponding changes in synapse size, with each muscle affecting only its presynaptic motor neuron branches. This scaling growth is mechanistically distinct from synaptic plasticity driven by neuronal activity and requires increased postsynaptic differentiation induced by insulin receptor signaling in muscle. We identify the guanine-nucleotide exchange factor dPix as an effector of insulin receptor signaling. Alternatively spliced dPix isoforms that contain a specific exon are necessary and sufficient for postsynaptic differentiation and scaling growth, and their mRNA levels are regulated by insulin receptor signaling. These findings define a mechanism by which the same signaling pathway promotes both autonomous muscle growth and non-autonomous synapse growth.
PMID: 32516570
ISSN: 1878-1551
CID: 4478172

Sidekick Is a Key Component of Tricellular Adherens Junctions that Acts to Resolve Cell Rearrangements

Letizia, Annalisa; He, DanQing; Astigarraga, Sergio; Colombelli, Julien; Hatini, Victor; Llimargas, Marta; Treisman, Jessica E
Tricellular adherens junctions are points of high tension that are central to the rearrangement of epithelial cells. However, the molecular composition of these junctions is unknown, making it difficult to assess their role in morphogenesis. Here, we show that Sidekick, an immunoglobulin family cell adhesion protein, is highly enriched at tricellular adherens junctions in Drosophila. This localization is modulated by tension, and Sidekick is itself necessary to maintain normal levels of cell bond tension. Loss of Sidekick causes defects in cell and junctional rearrangements in actively remodeling epithelial tissues like the retina and tracheal system. The adaptor proteins Polychaetoid and Canoe are enriched at tricellular adherens junctions in a Sidekick-dependent manner; Sidekick functionally interacts with both proteins and directly binds to Polychaetoid. We suggest that Polychaetoid and Canoe link Sidekick to the actin cytoskeleton to enable tricellular adherens junctions to maintain or transmit cell bond tension during epithelial cell rearrangements.
PMID: 31353315
ISSN: 1878-1551
CID: 4010432

Reduced SERCA Function Preferentially Affects Wnt Signaling by Retaining E-Cadherin in the Endoplasmic Reticulum

Suisse, Annabelle; Treisman, Jessica E
Calcium homeostasis in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum is required for correct processing and trafficking of transmembrane proteins, and defects in protein trafficking can impinge on cell signaling pathways. We show here that mutations in the endoplasmic reticulum calcium pump SERCA disrupt Wingless signaling by sequestering Armadillo/β-catenin away from the signaling pool. Armadillo remains bound to E-cadherin, which is retained in the endoplasmic reticulum when calcium levels there are reduced. Using hypomorphic and null SERCA alleles in combination with the loss of the plasma membrane calcium channel Orai allowed us to define three distinct thresholds of endoplasmic reticulum calcium. Wingless signaling is sensitive to even a small reduction, while Notch and Hippo signaling are disrupted at intermediate levels, and elimination of SERCA function results in apoptosis. These differential and opposing effects on three oncogenic signaling pathways may complicate the use of SERCA inhibitors as cancer therapeutics.
PMID: 30625314
ISSN: 2211-1247
CID: 3579622

The Drosophila Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor does not act in the nucleus

Courgeon, Maximilien; He, DanQing; Liu, Hui Hua; Legent, Kevin; Treisman, Jessica E
Mammalian members of the ErbB family, including the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR), can regulate transcription, DNA replication and repair through nuclear entry of either the full-length proteins or their cleaved cytoplasmic domains. In cancer cells, these nuclear functions contribute to tumor progression and drug resistance. We examined whether the single Drosophila EGFR can also localize to the nucleus. A chimeric EGFR protein fused at its cytoplasmic C-terminus to DNA-binding and transcriptional activation domains strongly activated transcriptional reporters when overexpressed in cultured cells or in vivo. However, this activity was independent of cleavage and endocytosis. Without an exogenous activation domain, EGFR fused to a DNA-binding domain did not activate or repress transcription. Addition of the same DNA-binding and transcriptional activation domains to the endogenous Egfr locus by genome editing produced no detectable reporter expression in wild type or oncogenic contexts. These results show that when expressed at physiological levels, the cytoplasmic domain of the Drosophila EGFR does not have access to the nucleus. Nuclear EGFR functions are likely to have evolved after vertebrates and invertebrates diverged.
PMID: 30158176
ISSN: 1477-9137
CID: 3256052

Drosophila Sidekick is required in developing photoreceptors to enable visual motion detection

Astigarraga, Sergio; Douthit, Jessica; Tarnogorska, Dorota; Creamer, Matthew S; Mano, Omer; Clark, Damon A; Meinertzhagen, Ian A; Treisman, Jessica E
The assembly of functional neuronal circuits requires growth cones to extend in defined directions and recognize the correct synaptic partners. Homophilic adhesion between vertebrate Sidekick proteins promotes synapse formation between retinal neurons involved in visual motion detection. We show here that that Drosophila Sidekick accumulates in specific synaptic layers of the developing motion detection circuit and is necessary for normal optomotor behavior. Sidekick is required in photoreceptors, but not their target lamina neurons, to promote the alignment of lamina neurons into columns and subsequent sorting of photoreceptor axons into synaptic modules based on their precise spatial orientation. Sidekick is also localized to the dendrites of the direction-selective T4 and T5 cells, and is expressed in some of their presynaptic partners. In contrast to its vertebrate homologues, Sidekick is not essential for T4 and T5 to direct their dendrites to the appropriate layers or to receive synaptic contacts. These results illustrate a conserved requirement for Sidekick proteins to establish visual motion detection circuits that is achieved through distinct cellular mechanisms in Drosophila and vertebrates.
PMID: 29361567
ISSN: 1477-9129
CID: 2929292