Localized cell shape change initiates epithelial folding, while neighboring cell invagination determines the final depth of an epithelial fold. The mechanism that controls the extent of invagination remains unknown. During Drosophila gastrulation, a higher number of cells undergo invagination to form the deep posterior dorsal fold, whereas far fewer cells become incorporated into the initially very similar anterior dorsal fold. We find that a decrease in α-catenin activity causes the anterior fold to invaginate as extensively as the posterior fold. In contrast, constitutive activation of the small GTPase Rap1 restricts invagination of both dorsal folds in an α-catenin-dependent manner. Rap1 activity appears spatially modulated by Rapgap1, whose expression levels are high in the cells that flank the posterior fold but low in the anterior fold. We propose a modelwhereby distinct activity states of Rap1 modulate α-catenin-dependent coupling between junctions and actin to control the extent of epithelial invagination.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology