Basolateral junctions utilize warts signaling to control epithelial-mesenchymal transition and proliferation crucial for migration and invasion of Drosophila ovarian epithelial cells.

PMID 18430928


Fasciclin2 (Fas2) and Discslarge (Dlg) localize to the basolateral junction (BLJ) of Drosophila follicle epithelial cells and inhibit their proliferation and invasion. To identify a BLJ signaling pathway we completed a genomewide screen for mutants that enhance dlg tumorigenesis. We identified two genes that encode known BLJ scaffolding proteins, lethal giant larvae (lgl) and scribble (scrib), and several not previously associated with BLJ function, including warts (wts) and roughened eye (roe), which encode a serine-threonine kinase and a transcription factor, respectively. Like scrib, wts and roe also enhance Fas2 and lgl tumorigenesis. Further, scrib, wts, and roe block border cell migration, and cause noninvasive tumors that resemble dlg partial loss of function, suggesting that the BLJ utilizes Wts signaling to repress EMT and proliferation, but not motility. Apicolateral junction proteins Fat (Ft), Expanded (Ex), and Merlin (Mer) either are not involved in these processes, or have highly spatio-temporally restricted roles, diminishing their significance as upstream inputs to Wts in follicle cells. This is further indicated in that Wts targets, CyclinE and DIAP1, are elevated in Fas2, dlg, lgl, wts, and roe cells, but not Fat, ex, or mer cells. Thus, the BLJ appears to regulate epithelial polarity and dynamics not only as a localized scaffold, but also by communicating signals to the nucleus. Wts may be regulated by distinct junction inputs depending on developmental context.