Journal of cell science

Drosophila Kette coordinates myoblast junction dissolution and the ratio of Scar-to-WASp during myoblast fusion.

PMID 27521427


The fusion of founder cells and fusion-competent myoblasts (FCMs) is crucial for muscle formation in Drosophila Characteristic events of myoblast fusion include the recognition and adhesion of myoblasts, and the formation of branched F-actin by the Arp2/3 complex at the site of cell-cell contact. At the ultrastructural level, these events are reflected by the appearance of finger-like protrusions and electron-dense plaques that appear prior to fusion. Severe defects in myoblast fusion are caused by the loss of Kette (a homolog of Nap1 and Hem-2, also known as NCKAP1 and NCKAP1L, respectively), a member of the regulatory complex formed by Scar or WAVE proteins (represented by the single protein, Scar, in flies). kette mutants form finger-like protrusions, but the electron-dense plaques are extended. Here, we show that the electron-dense plaques in wild-type and kette mutant myoblasts resemble other electron-dense structures that are known to function as cellular junctions. Furthermore, analysis of double mutants and attempts to rescue the kette mutant phenotype with N-cadherin, wasp and genes of members of the regulatory Scar complex revealed that Kette has two functions during myoblast fusion. First, Kette controls the dissolution of electron-dense plaques. Second, Kette controls the ratio of the Arp2/3 activators Scar and WASp in FCMs.