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Development 2013 Apr 01;1407:1457-66. doi: 10.1242/dev.086850.
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Jun N-terminal kinase maintains tissue integrity during cell rearrangement in the gut.

Dush MK , Nascone-Yoder NM .

Tissue elongation is a fundamental morphogenetic process that generates the proper anatomical topology of the body plan and vital organs. In many elongating embryonic structures, tissue lengthening is driven by Rho family GTPase-mediated cell rearrangement. During this dynamic process, the mechanisms that modulate intercellular adhesion to allow individual cells to change position without compromising structural integrity are not well understood. In vertebrates, Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) is also required for tissue elongation, but the precise cellular role of JNK in this context has remained elusive. Here, we show that JNK activity is indispensable for the rearrangement of endoderm cells that underlies the elongation of the Xenopus gut tube. Whereas Rho kinase is necessary to induce cell intercalation and remodel adhesive contacts, we have found that JNK is required to maintain cell-cell adhesion and establish parallel microtubule arrays; without JNK activity, the reorganizing endoderm dissociates. Depleting polymerized microtubules phenocopies this effect of JNK inhibition on endoderm morphogenesis, consistent with a model in which JNK regulates microtubule architecture to preserve adhesive contacts between rearranging gut cells. Thus, in contrast to Rho kinase, which generates actomyosin-based tension and cell movement, JNK signaling is required to establish microtubule stability and maintain tissue cohesion; both factors are required to achieve proper cell rearrangement and gut extension. This model of gut elongation has implications not only for the etiology of digestive tract defects, but sheds new light on the means by which intra- and intercellular forces are balanced to promote topological change, while preserving structural integrity, in numerous morphogenetic contexts.

PubMed ID: 23462475
PMC ID: PMC3596989
Article link: Development
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: actl6a casp3.2 cat.2 cdh1 fabp2 hhex jun kit mapk1 mapk8 nkx2-5 pmch prkci rho rho.2 tsc1
Antibodies: Casp3 Ab5 Cdh1 Ab1 Ctnna1 Ab3 Ctnnb1 Ab2 Ctnnb1 Ab7 H3f3a Ab9 Jun Ab3 Lama1 Ab1 Mapk1 Ab10 Mapk8 Ab2 Prkcz Ab1 Tuba4b Ab2 acta2 Ab3 mCherry Ab1
Morpholinos: mapk8 MO1

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Akhmanova, Touch, grasp, deliver and control: functional cross-talk between microtubules and cell adhesions. 2009, Pubmed