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The aPKC/Par3/Par6 Polarity Complex and Membrane Order Are Functionally Interdependent in Epithelia During Vertebrate Organogenesis.

PMID 26456025


The differential distribution of lipids between apical and basolateral membranes is necessary for many epithelial cell functions, but how this characteristic membrane organization is integrated within the polarity network during ductal organ development is poorly understood. Here we quantified membrane order in the gut, kidney and liver ductal epithelia in zebrafish larvae at 3-11 days post fertilization (dpf) with Laurdan 2-photon microscopy. We then applied a combination of Laurdan imaging, antisense knock-down and analysis of polarity markers to understand the relationship between membrane order and apical-basal polarity. We found a reciprocal relationship between membrane order and the cell polarity network. Reducing membrane condensation by exogenously added oxysterol or depletion of cholesterol reduced apical targeting of the polarity protein, aPKC. Conversely, using morpholino knock down in zebrafish, we found that membrane order was dependent upon the Crb3 and Par3 polarity protein expression in ductal epithelia. Hence our data suggest that the biophysical property of membrane lipid packing is a regulatory element in apical basal polarity.