Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 23555600
Link to DOI – 10.1371/journal.pone.0058839
PLoS One 2013 ; 8(3): e58839
Maintenance of apico-basal polarity is essential for epithelial integrity and requires particular reinforcement during tissue morphogenesis, when cells are reorganised, undergo shape changes and remodel their junctions. It is well established that epithelial integrity during morphogenetic processes depends on the dynamic exchange of adherens junction components, but our knowledge on the dynamics of other proteins and their dynamics during these processes is still limited. The early Drosophila embryo is an ideal system to study membrane dynamics during morphogenesis. Here, morphogenetic activities differ along the anterior-posterior axis, with the extending germband showing a high degree of epithelial remodelling. We developed a Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP) assay with a higher temporal resolution, which allowed the distinction between a fast and a slow component of recovery of membrane proteins during the germband extension stage. We show for the first time that the recovery kinetics of a general membrane marker, SpiderGFP, differs in the anterior and posterior parts of the embryo, which correlates well with the different morphogenetic activities of the respective embryonic regions. Interestingly, absence of crumbs, a polarity regulator essential for epithelial integrity in the Drosophila embryo, decreases the fast component of SpiderGFP and of the apical marker Stranded at Second-Venus specifically in the anterior region. We suggest that the defects in kinetics observed in crumbs mutant embryos are the first signs of tissue instability in this region, explaining the earlier breakdown of the head epidermis in comparison to that of the trunk, and that diffusion in the plasma membrane is affected by the absence of Crumbs.