The body of the adult fruit fly is covered with hair-like bristles (Fig. 1) that act as sensory organs for detecting tactile stimuli. Each one consists of a single cell that has gradually elongated over the course of pupal development, reinforced by bundles of actin protein filaments.
Figure 1: An electron microscope image of a sensory bristle from the body of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Copyright : 2011 Tetsuhisa Otani
The signaling protein IKKå helps to regulate this process by controlling the organization of these actin bundles, but a recent study from Shigeo Hayashi and colleagues at the RIKEN Center for Development Biology in Kobe has revealed that IKKå also promotes bristle growth by managing the trafficking of cellular cargoes (1).
Initial experiments by Hayashi and team showed that activated IKKå is primarily found at the tips of developing bristles, where growth-associated cargoes are most likely to be unloaded. “Membranes and associated proteins are water-insoluble and thus do not easily diffuse to distant sites, and one model is that distal trafficking actively delivers such insoluble materials as packages,” explains Hayashi.
Membrane-enclosed bubbles known as endosomes are a core component in this process, using so-called motor proteins to travel along routes defined by a microscopic ‘railway’ of fibers known as microtubules. The researchers found that this trafficking is severely disrupted in the absence of IKKå, with endosomes remaining trapped at the ends of the bristle rather than being distributed throughout the cell.
Hayashi and colleagues determined that IKKå interacts with a protein called Nuf, which links the motor protein Dynein with a key endosome-associated protein and thus contributes to directional transport of cargoes toward the tip of the growing bristle. Upon arrival at the tip, IKKå-mediated inactivation of Nuf sends the newly emptied endosomes on a return trip, thereby completing a ‘recycling’ process. “Such endosomal movement occurs in other cell types, but the shape of bristles makes this shuttling very prominent,” says Hayashi. “I think this is a very good example of how a highly specialized cell and its shape can reveal a mechanism of general significance.”
Many other cells grow in a similar fashion, ranging from the tiny branches that help connect neurons to the hairs on plant roots that assist in water absorption, and Hayashi speculates that similar regulatory mechanisms may also operate in these contexts. Moving forward, he and his colleagues will further explore the apparently central coordinating role of IKKå. “We are currently studying actin as a target,” says Hayashi, “and we are also studying upstream regulators of IKKå, hoping to uncover a comprehensive view of this signaling pathway.”
The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Laboratory for Morphogenetic Signaling, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology
(1) Otani, T., Oshima, K., Onishi, S., Takeda, M., Shinmyozu, K., Yonemura, S. & Hayashi, S. IKKå regulates cell elongation through recycling endosome shuttling. Developmental Cell 20, 219–232 (2011).
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences