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Drosophila gene tao-1 encodes proteins with and without a Ste20 kinase domain that affect cytoskeletal architecture and cell migration differently.

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Pflanz,  R.
Department of Molecular Developmental Biology, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Jäckle,  H.
Department of Molecular Developmental Biology, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Pflanz, R., Voigt, A., Yakulov, T., & Jäckle, H. (2015). Drosophila gene tao-1 encodes proteins with and without a Ste20 kinase domain that affect cytoskeletal architecture and cell migration differently. Open Biology, 5(1): 140161. doi:10.1098/rsob.140161.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-B429-1
Abstract
Tao-1, the single representative of the Sterile 20 kinase subfamily in Drosophila, is best known for destabilizing microtubules at the actin-rich cortex, regulating the cytoskeletal architecture of cells. More recently, Tao-1 was shown to act in the Salvador-Warts-Hippo pathway by phosphorylating Hippo, regulating cell growth as well as cell polarity. Here, we show that tao-1 encodes two proteins, one with the Sterile 20 kinase domain (Tao-L) and one without it (Tao-S), and that they act in an antagonistic manner. Tao-L expression causes lamellipodia-like cell protrusions, whereas Tao-S expression results in filopodia-like structures that make cells stick to the surface they attach to. Ectopic Tao-1 expression in the anterior region of Drosophila embryos results in pole cell formation as normally observed at the posterior end. Tao-S expression causes primordial germ cells (PGCs) to adhere to the inner wall of the gut primordia and prevents proper transepithelial migration to the gonads. Conversely, RNAi knockdowns of Tao-1 cause disordered migration of PGCs out of the gut epithelium, their dispersal within the embryo and cell death. The results reveal a novel function of Tao-1 in cell migration, which is based on antagonistic activities of two proteins encoded by a single gene.