Frazzled can act through distinct molecular pathways in epithelial cells to regulate motility, apical constriction, and localisation of E-Cadherin

Sofia Golenkina, Vishal Chaturvedi, Robert Saint, Michael J. Murray

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Netrin receptors of the DCC/NEO/UNC-40/Frazzled family have well established roles in cell migration and axon guidance but can also regulate epithelial features such as adhesion, polarity and adherens junction (AJ) stability. Previously, we have shown that overexpression of Drosophila Frazzled (Fra) in the peripodial epithelium (PE) inhibits wing disc eversion and also generates cellular protrusions typical of motile cells. Here, we tested whether the molecular pathways by which Fra inhibits eversion are distinct from those driving motility. We show that in disc proper (DP) epithelial cells Fra, in addition to inducing F-Actin rich protrusions, can affect localization of AJ components and columnar cell shape. We then show that these phenotypes have different requirements for the three conserved Fra cytoplasmic P-motifs and for downstream genes. The formation of protrusions required the P3 motif of Fra, as well as integrins (mys and mew), the Rac pathway (Rac1, wave and, arpc3) and myosin regulatory light chain (Sqh). In contrast, apico-basal cell shape change, which was accompanied by increased myosin phosphorylation, was critically dependent upon the P1 motif and was promoted by RhoGef2 but inhibited by Rac1. Fra also caused a loss of AJ proteins (DE-Cad and Arm) from basolateral regions of epithelial cells. This phenotype required all 3 P-motifs, and was dependent upon the polarity factor par6. par6 was not required for protrusions or cell shape change, but was required to block eversion suggesting that control of AJ components may underlie the ability of Fra to promote epithelial stability. The results imply that multiple molecular pathways act downstream of Fra in epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0194003
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. ©2018 Golenkina et al.


  • Molecular pathways
  • Netrin receptors
  • Frazzled (Fra)
  • Epithelial cells


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