The noncanonical Frizzled/planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway regulates establishment of polarity within the plane of an epithelium to generate diversity of cell fates, asymmetric, but highly aligned structures, or to orchestrate the directional migration of cells during convergent extension during vertebrate gastrulation. In Drosophila, PCP signaling is essential to orient actin wing hairs and to align ommatidia in the eye, in part by coordinating the movement of groups of photoreceptor cells during ommatidial rotation. Importantly, the coordination of PCP signaling with changes in the cytoskeleton is essential for proper epithelial polarity. Formins polymerize linear actin filaments and are key regulators of the actin cytoskeleton. Here, we show that the diaphanous-related formin, Frl, the single fly member of the FMNL (formin related in leukocytes/formin-like) formin subfamily affects ommatidial rotation in the Drosophila eye and is controlled by the Rho family GTPase Cdc42. Interestingly, we also found that frl mutants exhibit an axon growth phenotype in the mushroom body, a center for olfactory learning in the Drosophila brain, which is also affected in a subset of PCP genes. Significantly, Frl cooperates with Cdc42 and another formin, DAAM, during mushroom body formation. This study thus suggests that different formins can cooperate or act independently in distinct tissues, likely integrating various signaling inputs with the regulation of the cytoskeleton. It furthermore highlights the importance and complexity of formin-dependent cytoskeletal regulation in multiple organs and developmental contexts. planar cell polarity; formin; cytoskeleton; neural development; noncanonical Wnt signaling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas