20 research outputs found

    First person – Mathias Cobbaut and Ahmed Elbediwy

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    First person – Ahmed Elbediwy

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    First Person is a series of interviews with the first authors of a selection of papers published in Journal of Cell Science, helping early-career researchers promote themselves alongside their papers. Ahmed Elbediwy is the first author on ‘Enigma proteins regulate YAP mechanotransduction’, published in Journal of Cell Science. Ahmed is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Barry Thompson at The Francis Crick Institute, London, UK, investigating the cytoskeleton, RhoGTPases and the regulation of YAP/TAZ oncoproteins

    Evolution of mechanotransduction via YAP/TAZ in animal epithelia

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    Investigating barriers that prevent students attaining their full potential during their degree

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    Social and economic barriers that students face during their studies can impact severely on their attainment and can be due to many factors. This study investigated how different socio-economic factors, with a focus on digital poverty and workspace availability may have affected students' attainment (during October 2021 - March 2022) at university post-COVID-19. Quantitative data collected during the first teaching block of the 2021-2022 academic year using specific questions in a paper-based questionnaire indicated that a good proportion of life science students did not have access to a home internet source (35%) or proper workspace facilities (34%) and had the requirement to work alongside their degree in order to fund their studies. In contrast to the lack of internet students experienced, many of the surveyed students did have access to a personal computer within their household. Possible reasons for some of the findings, and the implications of the findings, are discussed here

    Dysfunctional mechanotransduction through the YAP/TAZ/Hippo pathway as a feature of chronic disease

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    In order to ascertain their external environment, cells and tissues have the capability to sense and process a variety of stresses, including stretching and compression forces. These mechanical forces, as experienced by cells and tissues, are then converted into biochemical signals within the cell, leading to a number of cellular mechanisms being activated, including proliferation, differentiation and migration. If the conversion of mechanical cues into biochemical signals is perturbed in any way, then this can be potentially implicated in chronic disease development and processes such as neurological disorders, cancer and obesity. This review will focus on how the interplay between mechanotransduction, cellular structure, metabolism and signalling cascades led by the Hippo-YAP/TAZ axis can lead to a number of chronic diseases and suggest how we can target various pathways in order to design therapeutic targets for these debilitating diseases and conditions

    Mechanosensing and the Hippo pathway in microglia : a potential link to Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis

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    The activation of microglia, the inflammatory cells of the central nervous system (CNS), has been linked to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. How microglia sense the changing brain environment, in order to respond appropriately, is still being elucidated. Microglia are able to sense and respond to the mechanical properties of their microenvironment, and the physical and molecular pathways underlying this mechanosensing/mechanotransduction in microglia have recently been investigated. The Hippo pathway functions through mechanosensing and subsequent protein kinase cascades, and is critical for neuronal development and many other cellular processes. In this review, we examine evidence for the potential involvement of Hippo pathway components specifically in microglia in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. We suggest that the Hippo pathway is worth investigating as a mechanosensing pathway in microglia, and could be one potential therapeutic target pathway for preventing microglial-induced neurodegeneration in A

    The Hippo pathway integrates PI3K-Akt signals with mechanical and polarity cues to control tissue growth

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    The Hippo signalling pathway restricts cell proliferation in animal tissues by inhibiting Yesassociated protein (YAP or YAP1) and Transcriptional Activator with a PDZ domain (TAZ or WW-domain–containing transcriptional activator [WWTR1]), coactivators of the Scalloped (Sd or TEAD) DNA-binding transcription factor. Drosophila has a single YAP/TAZ homolog named Yorkie (Yki) that is regulated by Hippo pathway signalling in response to epithelial polarity and tissue mechanics during development. Here, we show that Yki translocates to the nucleus to drive Sd-mediated cell proliferation in the ovarian follicle cell epithelium in response to mechanical stretching caused by the growth of the germline. Importantly, mechanically induced Yki nuclear localisation also requires nutritionally induced insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signalling (IIS) via phosphatidyl inositol-3-kinase (PI3K), phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1 or PDPK1), and protein kinase B (Akt or PKB) in the follicular epithelium. We find similar results in the developing Drosophila wing, where Yki becomes nuclear in the mechanically stretched cells of the wing pouch during larval feeding, which induces IIS, but translocates to the cytoplasm upon cessation of feeding in the third instar stage. Inactivating Akt prevents nuclear Yki localisation in the wing disc, while ectopic activation of the insulin receptor, PI3K, or Akt/PKB is sufficient to maintain nuclear Yki in mechanically stimulated cells of the wing pouch even after feeding ceases. Finally, IIS also promotes YAP nuclear localisation in response to mechanical cues in mammalian skin epithelia. Thus, the Hippo pathway has a physiological function as an integrator of epithelial cell polarity, tissue mechanics, and nutritional cues to control cell proliferation and tissue growth in both Drosophila and mammals.This work was funded by the Francis Crick Institute core funding to BT (FC0011080). It was also funded by EMBL Australia & The John Curtin School of Medical Research at The Australian National University

    The Spectrin cytoskeleton regulates the Hippo signalling pathway

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    The Spectrin cytoskeleton is known to be polarised in epithelial cells, yet its role remains poorly understood. Here, we show that the Spectrin cytoskeleton controls Hippo signalling. In the developing Drosophila wing and eye, loss of apical Spectrins (alpha/beta-heavy dimers) produces tissue overgrowth and mis-regulation of Hippo target genes, similar to loss of Crumbs (Crb) or the FERM-domain protein Expanded (Ex). Apical beta-heavy Spectrin binds to Ex and co-localises with it at the apical membrane to antagonise Yki activity. Interestingly, in both the ovarian follicular epithelium and intestinal epithelium of Drosophila, apical Spectrins and Crb are dispensable for repression of Yki, while basolateral Spectrins (alpha/beta dimers) are essential. Finally, the Spectrin cytoskeleton is required to regulate the localisation of the Hippo pathway effector YAP in response to cell density human epithelial cells. Our findings identify both apical and basolateral Spectrins as regulators of Hippo signalling and suggest Spectrins as potential mechanosensors

    Integrin signalling regulates YAP and TAZ to control skin homeostasis

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    The skin is a squamous epithelium that is continuously renewed by a population of basal layer stem/progenitor cells and can heal wounds. Here, we show that the transcription regulators YAP and TAZ localise to the nucleus in the basal layer of skin and are elevated upon wound healing. Skin-specific deletion of both YAP and TAZ in adult mice slows proliferation of basal layer cells, leads to hair loss and impairs regeneration after wounding. Contact with the basal extracellular matrix and consequent integrin-Src signalling is a key determinant of the nuclear localisation of YAP/TAZ in basal layer cells and in skin tumours. Contact with the basement membrane is lost in differentiating daughter cells, where YAP and TAZ become mostly cytoplasmic. In other types of squamous epithelia and squamous cell carcinomas, a similar control mechanism is present. By contrast, columnar epithelia differentiate an apical domain that recruits CRB3, Merlin (also known as NF2), KIBRA (also known as WWC1) and SAV1 to induce Hippo signalling and retain YAP/TAZ in the cytoplasm despite contact with the basal layer extracellular matrix. When columnar epithelial tumours lose their apical domain and become invasive, YAP/TAZ becomes nuclear and tumour growth becomes sensitive to the Src inhibitor Dasatinib

    Dbl3 drives Cdc42 signaling at the apical margin to regulate junction position and apical differentiation

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    Epithelial cells develop morphologically characteristic apical domains that are bordered by tight junctions, the apical-lateral border. Cdc42 and its effector complex Par6-atypical protein kinase c (aPKC) regulate multiple steps during epithelial differentiation, but the mechanisms that mediate process-specific activation of Cdc42 to drive apical morphogenesis and activate the transition from junction formation to apical differentiation are poorly understood. Using a small interfering RNA screen, we identify Dbl3 as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor that is recruited by ezrin to the apical membrane, that is enriched at a marginal zone apical to tight junctions, and that drives spatially restricted Cdc42 activation, promoting apical differentiation. Dbl3 depletion did not affect junction formation but did affect epithelial morphogenesis and brush border formation. Conversely, expression of active Dbl3 drove process-specific activation of the Par6-aPKC pathway, stimulating the transition from junction formation to apical differentiation and domain expansion, as well as the positioning of tight junctions. Thus, Dbl3 drives Cdc42 signaling at the apical margin to regulate morphogenesis, apical-lateral border positioning, and apical differentiation
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