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A non-cell-autonomous role for Ras signaling in C. elegans neuroblast delamination.

Development (Cambridge, England) (2014-11-06)
Jean M Parry, Meera V Sundaram
ABSTRACT

Receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling through Ras influences many aspects of normal cell behavior, including epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and aberrant signaling promotes both tumorigenesis and metastasis. Although many such effects are cell-autonomous, here we show a non-cell-autonomous role for RTK-Ras signaling in the delamination of a neuroblast from an epithelial organ. The C. elegans renal-like excretory organ is initially composed of three unicellular epithelial tubes, namely the canal, duct and G1 pore cells; however, the G1 cell later delaminates from the excretory system to become a neuroblast and is replaced by the G2 cell. G1 delamination and G2 intercalation involve cytoskeletal remodeling, interconversion of autocellular and intercellular junctions and migration over a luminal extracellular matrix, followed by G1 junction loss. LET-23/EGFR and SOS-1, an exchange factor for Ras, are required for G1 junction loss but not for initial cytoskeletal or junction remodeling. Surprisingly, expression of activated LET-60/Ras in the neighboring duct cell, but not in the G1 or G2 cells, is sufficient to rescue sos-1 delamination defects, revealing that Ras acts non-cell-autonomously to permit G1 delamination. We suggest that, similarly, oncogenic mutations in cells within a tumor might help create a microenvironment that is permissive for other cells to detach and ultimately metastasize.

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