Communication between cortical cell polarity cues and the mitotic spindle ensures proper orientation of cell divisions within complex tissues. Defects in mitotic spindle positioning have been linked to various developmental disorders and have recently emerged as a potential contributor to tumorigenesis. Despite the importance of this process to human health, the molecular mechanisms that regulate spindle orientation are not fully understood. Moreover, it remains unclear how diverse cortical polarity complexes might cooperate to influence spindle positioning. We and others have demonstrated spindle orientation roles for Dishevelled (Dsh), a key regulator of planar cell polarity, and Discs large (Dlg), a conserved apico-basal cell polarity regulator, effects which were previously thought to operate within distinct molecular pathways. Here we identify a novel direct interaction between the Dsh-PDZ domain and the alternatively spliced “I3-insert” of the Dlg-Hook domain, thus establishing a potential convergent Dsh/Dlg pathway. Furthermore, we identify a Dlg sequence motif necessary for the Dsh interaction that shares homology to the site of Dsh binding in the Frizzled receptor. Expression of Dsh enhanced Dlg-mediated spindle positioning similar to deletion of the Hook domain. This Dsh-mediated activation was dependent on the Dlg-binding partner, GukHolder (GukH). These results suggest that Dsh binding may regulate core interdomain conformational dynamics previously described for Dlg. Together, our results identify Dlg as an effector of Dsh signaling and demonstrate a Dsh-mediated mechanism for the activation of Dlg/GukH-dependent spindle positioning. Cooperation between these two evolutionarily-conserved cell polarity pathways could have important implications to both the development and maintenance of tissue homeostasis in animals.
Garcia, J. D., Dewey, E. B., & Johnston, C. A. (2014). Dishevelled binds the Discs large “Hook” domain to activate GukHolder-dependent spindle positioning in Drosophila. PLoS ONE, 9(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0114235