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

Dynamics of the basement membrane in invasive epithelial clusters in Drosophila.

The basement membrane (BM) represents a barrier to cell migration, which has to be degraded to promote invasion. However, the role and behaviour of the BM during the development of pre-invasive cells is only poorly understood. Drosophila border cells (BCs) provide an attractive genetic model in which to study the cellular mechanisms underlying the migration of mixed cohorts of epithelial cells. BCs are made of two different epithelial cell types appearing sequentially during oogenesis: the polar cells and the outer BCs. Here, we show that the pre-invasive polar cells undergo an unusual and asymmetrical apical capping with major basement membrane proteins, including the two Drosophila Collagen IV alpha chains, Laminin A and Perlecan. Capping of polar cells proceeds through a novel, basal-to-apical transcytosis mechanism that involves the small GTPase Drab5. Apical capping is transient and is followed by rapid shedding prior to the initiation of BC migration, suggesting that the apical cap blocks migration. Consistently, non-migratory polar cells remain capped. We further show that JAK/STAT signalling and recruitment of outer BCs are required for correct shedding and migration. The dynamics of the BM represents a marker of migratory BC, revealing a novel developmentally regulated behaviour of BM coupled to epithelial cell invasiveness.[1]


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