The p21 activated kinase (Pak) family of protein kinases are involved in many cellular functions like re-organisation of the cytoskeleton, transcriptional control, cell division, and survival. These pleiotropic actions are reflected in a plethora of known interacting proteins and phosphorylation substrates. Yet, the integration of a single Pak protein into signalling pathways controlling a particular developmental process are less well studied. For two of the three known Pak proteins in Drosophila melanogaster, D-Pak and Mbt, distinct functions during eye development have been established. In this study we undertook a genetic approach to identify proteins acting in the Mbt signalling pathway during photoreceptor cell morphogenesis. The genetic screen identified the actin depolymerisation factor Twinstar/Cofilin as one target of Mbt signalling. Twinstar/Cofilin becomes phosphorylated upon activation of Mbt. However, biochemical and genetic experiments question the role of the LIM domain protein kinase (Limk) as a major link between Mbt and Twinstar/Cofilin as it has been suggested for other PAK proteins. Constitutive activation of Mbt not only disturbs the actin cytoskeleton but also affects adherens junction organisation indicating a requirement of the protein in cell adhesion dependent processes during photoreceptor cell differentiation. © 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Menzel, N., Schneeberger, D., & Raabe, T. (2007). The Drosophila p21 activated kinase Mbt regulates the actin cytoskeleton and adherens junctions to control photoreceptor cell morphogenesis. Mechanisms of Development, 124(1), 78–90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mod.2006.09.007