Int. J. Dev. Biol. 52: 925 - 932 (2008)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.072418af
© UPV/EHU Press

Integrins contribute to the establishment and maintenance of cell polarity in the follicular epithelium of the Drosophila ovary

Ana Fernández-Miñán, Laura Cobreros, Acaimo González-Reyes and María D. Martín-Bermudo*

Centro Andaluz de Biología del Desarrollo, CSIC-Univ. Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla, Spain

ABSTRACT The generation of epithelial cell polarity is a key process during development. Although the induction and orientation of cell polarity by cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions is well established, the molecular mechanisms by which signals from the ECM control cell polarity in developing epithelial tissues remain poorly understood. Here, we have used the follicular epithelium of the Drosophila ovary to investigate the role that integrins, the main cell-ECM receptors, play in the establishment of apicobasal polarity. Mature follicle cells have an apical side facing the germ line and a basal side in contact with a basement membrane. Our results show that integrins - presumably via interactions with the basement membrane - play a reinforcing role in follicle cell polarization, as they are required to establish and/or maintain follicle cell membrane asymmetry only when contact with the germ line is prevented. We suggest that the primary cue for polarization of the follicular epithelium is contact with the germline cells. In addition, while interfering with apical and lateral polarization cues leads to apoptosis, we show here that inhibition of contact with the basement membrane mediated by integrins does not affect cell survival. Finally, we provide evidence to suggest that integrins are required to orientate epithelial polarity in vivo.

Keywords:

integrin, apicobasal polarity, basement membrane, epithelial polarity

*Corresponding author e-mail: mdmarber@upo.es