Epithelial tubes that compose many organs are typically long lasting, except under specific developmental and physiological conditions when network remodeling occurs. Although there has been progress elucidating mechanisms of tube formation, little is known of the mechanisms that maintain tubes and destabilize them during network remodeling. Here, we describe Drosophila tendrils mutations that compromise maintenance of tracheal terminal branches, fine gauge tubes formed by tracheal terminal cells that ramify on and adhere tightly to tissues in order to supply them with oxygen. Homozygous tendrils terminal cell clones have fewer terminal branches than normal but individual branches contain multiple convoluted lumens. The phenotype arises late in development: terminal branches bud and form lumens normally early in development, but during larval life lumens become convoluted and mature branches degenerate. Their lumens, however, are retained in the remaining branches, resulting in the distinctive multi-lumen phenotype. Mapping and molecular studies demonstrate that tendrils is allelic to rhea, which encodes Drosophila talin, a large cytoskeletal protein that links integrins to the cytoskeleton. Terminal cells mutant for myospheroid, the major Drosophila beta-integrin, or doubly mutant for multiple edematous wings and inflated alpha-integrins, also show the tendrils phenotype, and localization of myospheroid beta-integrin protein is disrupted in tendrils mutant terminal cells. The results provide evidence that integrin-talin adhesion complexes are necessary to maintain tracheal terminal branches and luminal organization. Similar complexes may stabilize other tubular networks and may be targeted for inactivation during network remodeling events.
Levi, B. P., Ghabrial, A. S., & Krasnow, M. A. (2006). Drosophila talin and integrin genes are required for maintenanceof tracheal terminal branches and luminal organization. Development, 133(12), 2383–2393. https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.02404