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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of the Crumbs complex in the regulation of junction formation in Drosophila and mammalian epithelial cells.

The formation of a belt-like junctional complex separating the apical from the lateral domain is an essential step in the differentiation of epithelial cells. Thus protein complexes regulating this event are of first importance for the development of cell polarity and physiological functions of epithelial tissues. In Drosophila, the discovery of a gene, crb, controlling the coalescence of the spots of zonula adherens (ZA) into a adhesive ring around the cells was a major step. We know now that Crumbs, the product of crb is an apical transmembrane protein conserved in mammals and that it interacts by its cytoplasmic domain with two cortical modular proteins, Stardust (Sdt) and Discs lost (Dlt) that are also essential for the correct assembly of the ZA. These two proteins are also conserved in mammals and it is most likely that the Crumbs complex plays a similar role in very different species. Recently, we have shown that Crumbs interacts with the cortical cytoskeleton made of DMoesin and beta heavy-Spectrin and this connection could explain in part the role of Crumbs in building the ZA. Future work will help to understand several aspects of the Crumbs complex that are still unknown, like the role of the large extracellular domain or the precise function of Sdt and Dlt in the building of the ZA. Finding an answer to these questions will help to find new therapies for Retinitis pigmentosa and other retina degeneration in which CRB1, the human homologue of crb, has been involved.[1]


  1. Role of the Crumbs complex in the regulation of junction formation in Drosophila and mammalian epithelial cells. Médina, E., Lemmers, C., Lane-Guermonprez, L., Le Bivic, A. Biol. Cell (2002) [Pubmed]
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