Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 35752632
Link to DOI – 10.1038/s41467-022-31266-8
Nat Commun 2022 Jun; 13(1): 3632
The expulsion of dying epithelial cells requires well-orchestrated remodelling steps to maintain tissue sealing. This process, named cell extrusion, has been mostly analysed through the study of actomyosin regulation. Yet, the mechanistic relationship between caspase activation and cell extrusion is still poorly understood. Using the Drosophila pupal notum, a single layer epithelium where extrusions are caspase-dependent, we showed that the initiation of cell extrusion and apical constriction are surprisingly not associated with the modulation of actomyosin concentration and dynamics. Instead, cell apical constriction is initiated by the disassembly of a medio-apical mesh of microtubules which is driven by effector caspases. Importantly, the depletion of microtubules is sufficient to bypass the requirement of caspases for cell extrusion, while microtubule stabilisation strongly impairs cell extrusion. This study shows that microtubules disassembly by caspases is a key rate-limiting step of extrusion, and outlines a more general function of microtubules in epithelial cell shape stabilisation.