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Developmental biology

Prkci is required for a non-autonomous signal that coordinates cell polarity during cavitation.


PMID 27312576

Abstract

Polarized epithelia define boundaries, spaces, and cavities within organisms. Cavitation, a process by which multicellular hollow balls or tubes are produced, is typically associated with the formation of organized epithelia. In order for these epithelial layers to form, cells must ultimately establish a distinct apical-basal polarity. Atypical PKCs have been proposed to be required for apical-basal polarity in diverse species. Here we show that while cells null for the Prkci isozyme exhibit some polarity characteristics, they fail to properly segregate apical-basal proteins, form a coordinated ectodermal epithelium, or participate in normal cavitation. A failure to cavitate could be due to an overgrowth of interior cells or to an inability of interior cells to die. Null cells however, do not have a marked change in proliferation rate and are still capable of undergoing cell death, suggesting that alterations in these processes are not the predominant cause of the failed cavitation. Overexpression of BMP4 or EZRIN can partially rescue the phenotype possibly by promoting cell death, polarity, and differentiation. However, neither is sufficient to provide the required cues to generate a polarized epithelium and fully rescue cavitation. Interestingly, when wildtype and Prkci(-/-) ES cells are mixed together, a polarized ectodermal epithelium forms and cavitation is rescued, likely due to the ability of wildtype cells to produce non-autonomous polarity cues. We conclude that Prkci is not required for cells to respond to these cues, though it is required to produce them. Together these findings indicate that environmental cues can facilitate the formation of polarized epithelia and that cavitation requires the proper coordination of multiple basic cellular processes including proliferation, differentiation, cell death, and apical-basal polarization.

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