Glioblastoma (GB) is the most lethal brain tumor, and Wingless (Wg)-related integration site (WNT) pathway activation in these tumors is associated with a poor prognosis. Clinically, the disease is characterized by progressive neurological deficits. However, whether these symptoms result from direct or indirect damage to neurons is still unresolved. Using Drosophila and primary xenografts as models of human GB, we describe, here, a mechanism that leads to activation of WNT signaling (Wg in Drosophila) in tumor cells. GB cells display a network of tumor microtubes (TMs) that enwrap neurons, accumulate Wg receptor Frizzled1 (Fz1), and, thereby, deplete Wg from neurons, causing neurodegeneration. We have defined this process as “vampirization.” Furthermore, GB cells establish a positive feedback loop to promote their expansion, in which the Wg pathway activates cJun N-terminal kinase (JNK) in GB cells, and, in turn, JNK signaling leads to the post-transcriptional up-regulation and accumulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which facilitate TMs’ infiltration throughout the brain, TMs’ network expansion, and further Wg depletion from neurons. Consequently, GB cells proliferate because of the activation of the Wg signaling target, β-catenin, and neurons degenerate because of Wg signaling extinction. Our findings reveal a molecular mechanism for TM production, infiltration, and maintenance that can explain both neuron-dependent tumor progression and also the neural decay associated with GB.
During development and aging, animals suffer insults that modify the fitness of individual cells. In Drosophila, the elimination of viable but suboptimal cells is mediated by cell competition, ensuring that these cells do not accumulate during development. In addition, certain genes such as the Drosophila homolog of human c-myc (dmyc) are able to transform cells into supercompetitors, which eliminate neighboring wild-type cells by apoptosis and overproliferate, leaving total cell numbers unchanged. Here we have identified Drosophila Sparc as an early marker transcriptionally upregulated in loser cells that provides a transient protection by inhibiting Caspase activation in outcompeted cells. Overall, we describe the unexpected existence of a physiological mechanism that counteracts cell competition during development.
Cell competition is a short-range cell-cell interaction leading to the proliferation of winner cells at the expense of losers, although either cell type shows normal growth in homotypic environments. Drosophila Myc (dMyc; Dm -FlyBase) is a potent inducer of cell competition in wing epithelia, but its role in the ovary germline stem cell niche is unknown. Here, we show that germline stem cells (GSCs) with relative lower levels of dMyc are replaced by GSCs with higher levels of dMyc. By contrast, dMyc-overexpressing GSCs outcompete wild-type stem cells without affecting total stem cell numbers. We also provide evidence for a naturally occurring cell competition border formed by high dMyc-expressing stem cells and low dMyc-expressing progeny, which may facilitate the concentration of the niche-provided self-renewal factor BMP/Dpp in metabolically active high dMyc stem cells. Genetic manipulations that impose uniform dMyc levels across the germline produce an extended Dpp signaling domain and cause uncoordinated differentiation events. We propose that dMyc-induced competition plays a dual role in regulating optimal stem cell pools and sharp differentiation boundaries, but is potentially harmful in the case of emerging dmyc duplications that facilitate niche occupancy by pre-cancerous stem cells. Moreover, competitive interactions among stem cells may be relevant for the successful application of stem cell therapies in humans.
Altogether, our data show that Lgl regulates endocytosis to restrict vesicle acidification and prevent ectopic ligand-dependent Notch signaling. This Lgl function is independent of the aPKC-Par6-Baz polarity complex and uncovers a novel attenuation mechanism of ligand-activated Notch signaling during Drosophila eye development.
Our results show that the "Flower Code" is a general system to reveal cell fitness and that it may play similar roles in creating optimal neural networks in higher organisms. The Flower Code seems to be a more general mechanism for cell monitoring and selection than previously recognized.
Epithelial cell polarity is controlled by components of the Scribble polarity module, and its regulation is critical for tissue architecture and cell proliferation and cell migration. In Drosophila melanogaster, the adaptor protein Guk-holder (Gukh) binds to the Scribbled (Scrib) and Discs Large (Dlg) components of the Scribble polarity module and plays an important role in the formation of neuromuscular junctions. However, Gukh's role in epithelial tissue formation and the molecular basis for the Scrib-Gukh interaction remain to be defined. We now show using isothermal titration calorimetry that the Scrib PDZ1 domain is the major site for an interaction with Gukh. Furthermore, we defined the structural basis of this interaction by determining the crystal structure of the Scrib PDZ1-Gukh complex. The C-terminal PDZ-binding motif of Gukh is located in the canonical ligand binding groove of Scrib PDZ1, and utilizes an unusually extensive network of hydrogen bonds and ionic interactions to enable binding to PDZ1 with high affinity. We next examined the role of Gukh along with those of Scrib and Dlg in Drosophila epithelial tissues, and found that Gukh is expressed in larval-wing and eye-epithelial tissues and co-localizes with Scrib and Dlg at the apical cell cortex. Importantly, we show that Gukh functions with Scrib and Dlg in the development of Drosophila epithelial http://www.jbc.org/cgi
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