The Journal of cell biology

A conserved polybasic domain mediates plasma membrane targeting of Lgl and its regulation by hypoxia.

PMID 26483556


Lethal giant larvae (Lgl) plays essential and conserved functions in regulating both cell polarity and tumorigenesis in Drosophila melanogaster and vertebrates. It is well recognized that plasma membrane (PM) or cell cortex localization is crucial for Lgl function in vivo, but its membrane-targeting mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we discovered that hypoxia acutely and reversibly inhibits Lgl PM targeting through a posttranslational mechanism that is independent of the well-characterized atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) or Aurora kinase-mediated phosphorylations. Instead, we identified an evolutionarily conserved polybasic (PB) domain that targets Lgl to the PM via electrostatic binding to membrane phosphatidylinositol phosphates. Such PB domain-mediated PM targeting is inhibited by hypoxia, which reduces inositol phospholipid levels on the PM through adenosine triphosphate depletion. Moreover, Lgl PB domain contains all the identified phosphorylation sites of aPKC and Aurora kinases, providing a molecular mechanism by which phosphorylations neutralize the positive charges on the PB domain to inhibit Lgl PM targeting.