Apoptosis is a prominent metazoan cell death form. Yet, mutations in apoptosis regulators cause only minor defects in vertebrate development, suggesting that another developmental cell death mechanism exists. While some non-apoptotic programs have been molecularly characterized, none appear to control developmental cell-culling. Linker-cell-type death (LCD) is a morphologically conserved non-apoptotic cell death process operating in C. elegans and vertebrate development, and is therefore a compelling candidate process complementing apoptosis. However, details of LCD execution are not known. Here we delineate a molecular-genetic pathway governing LCD in C. elegans. Redundant activities of antagonistic Wnt signals, a temporal-control pathway, and MAPKK signaling control HSF-1, a conserved stress-activated transcription factor. Rather than protecting cells, HSF-1 promotes their demise by activating components of the ubiquitin proteasome system, including the E2-ligase LET-70/UBE2D2 functioning with E3 components CUL-3, RBX-1, BTBD2, and SIAH-1. Our studies uncover design similarities between LCD and developmental apoptosis, and provide testable predictions for analyzing LCD in vertebrates.
- Oliver Hobert, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, United States
© 2016, Kinet et al.
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Mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) dysfunction due to mutations in the nuclear or mitochondrial genome is a common cause of metabolic disease in humans and displays striking tissue specificity depending on the affected gene. The mechanisms underlying tissue specific phenotypes are not understood. Complex I (cI) is classically considered the entry point for electrons into the ETC, and in vitro experiments indicate that cI is required for basal respiration and maintenance of the NAD+/NADH ratio, an indicator of cellular redox status. This finding has largely not been tested in vivo. Here, we report that mitochondrial complex I is dispensable for homeostasis of the adult mouse liver; animals with hepatocyte-specific loss of cI function display no overt phenotypes or signs of liver damage, and maintain liver function, redox and oxygen status. Further analysis of cI-deficient livers did not reveal significant proteomic or metabolic changes, indicating little to no compensation is required in the setting of complex I loss. In contrast, complex IV (cIV) dysfunction in adult hepatocytes results in decreased liver function, impaired oxygen handling, steatosis, and liver damage, accompanied by significant metabolomic and proteomic perturbations. Our results support a model whereby complex I loss is tolerated in the mouse liver because hepatocytes use alternative electron donors to fuel the mitochondrial ETC.
For a group of cells to migrate together, each cell must couple the polarity of its migratory machinery with that of the other cells in the cohort. Although collective cell migrations are common in animal development, little is known about how protrusions are coherently polarized among groups of migrating epithelial cells. We address this problem in the collective migration of the follicular epithelial cells in Drosophila melanogaster. In this epithelium, the cadherin Fat2 localizes to the trailing edge of each cell and promotes the formation of F-actin-rich protrusions at the leading edge of the cell behind. We show that Fat2 performs this function by acting in trans to concentrate the activity of the WASP family verprolin homolog regulatory complex (WAVE complex) at one long-lived region along each cell's leading edge. Without Fat2, the WAVE complex distribution expands around the cell perimeter and fluctuates over time, and protrusive activity is reduced and unpolarized. We further show that Fat2's influence is very local, with sub-micron-scale puncta of Fat2 enriching the WAVE complex in corresponding puncta just across the leading-trailing cell-cell interface. These findings demonstrate that a trans interaction between Fat2 and the WAVE complex creates stable regions of protrusive activity in each cell and aligns the cells' protrusions across the epithelium for directionally persistent collective migration.