E-cadherin/hmr-1 membrane enrichment is polarized by wave-dependent branched actin

Luigy Cordova-Burgos, Falshruti B. Patel, Martha C. Soto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polarized epithelial cells adhere to each other at apical junctions that connect to the apical F-actin belt. Regulated remodeling of apical junctions supports morphogenesis, while dysregulated remodeling promotes diseases such as cancer. We have documented that branched actin regulator, WAVE, and apical junction protein, Cadherin, assemble together in developing C. elegans embryonic junctions. If WAVE is missing in embryonic epithelia, too much Cadherin assembles at apical membranes, and yet apical F-actin is reduced, suggesting the excess Cadherin is not fully functional. We proposed that WAVE supports apical junctions by regulating the dynamic accumulation of Cadherin at membranes. To test this model, here we examine if WAVE is required for Cadherin membrane enrichment and apical–basal polarity in a maturing epithelium, the post-embryonic C. elegans intestine. We find that larval and adult intestines have distinct apicobasal populations of Cadherin, each with distinct dependence on WAVE branched actin. In vivo imaging shows that loss of WAVE components alters post-embryonic E-cadherin membrane enrichment, especially at apicolateral regions, and alters the lateral membrane. Analysis of a biosensor for PI(4,5)P2 suggests loss of WAVE or Cadherin alters the polarity of the epithelial membrane. EM (electron microscopy) illustrates lateral membrane changes including separations. These findings have implications for understanding how mutations in WAVE and Cadherin may alter cell polarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19
JournalJournal of Developmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


  • Apical junctions
  • Branched actin
  • Cadherin
  • Epithelial polarity


Dive into the research topics of 'E-cadherin/hmr-1 membrane enrichment is polarized by wave-dependent branched actin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this