- Solute transporting epithelial cells build arrays of microvilli on their apical surface to increase membrane scaffolding capacity and enhance function potential. In epithelial tissues such as the kidney and gut, microvilli are length-matched and assembled into tightly packed “brush borders,” which are organized by ∼50-nm thread-like links that form between the distal tips of adjacent protrusions. Composed of protocadherins CDHR2 and CDHR5, adhesion links are stabilized at the tips by a cytoplasmic tripartite module containing the scaffolds USH1C and ANKS4B and the actin-based motor MYO7B.
- Dental enamel, the hardest tissue in the human body, is derived from dental epithelial cell ameloblast-secreted enamel matrices. Enamel mineralization occurs in a strictly synchronized manner along with ameloblast maturation in association with ion transport and pH balance, and any disruption of these processes results in enamel hypomineralization. G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) function as transducers of external signals by activating associated G proteins and regulate cellular physiology.
- Nutrient-transporting enterocytes interact with their luminal environment using a densely packed collection of apical microvilli known as the brush border. Assembly of the brush border is controlled by the intermicrovillar adhesion complex (IMAC), a protocadherin-based complex found at the tips of brush border microvilli that mediates adhesion between neighboring protrusions. ANKS4B is known to be an essential scaffold within the IMAC, although its functional properties have not been thoroughly characterized.
- Specialized transporting and sensory epithelial cells employ homologous protocadherin-based adhesion complexes to remodel their apical membrane protrusions into organized functional arrays. Within the intestine, the nutrient-transporting enterocytes utilize the intermicrovillar adhesion complex (IMAC) to assemble their apical microvilli into an ordered brush border. The IMAC bears remarkable homology to the Usher complex, whose disruption results in the sensory disorder type 1 Usher syndrome (USH1).
- Neural tube closure requires apical constriction during which contraction of the apical F-actin network forces the cell into a wedged shape, facilitating the folding of the neural plate into a tube. However, how F-actin assembly at the apical surface is regulated in mammalian neurulation remains largely unknown. We report here that formin homology 2 domain–containing 3 (Fhod3), a formin protein that mediates F-actin assembly, is essential for cranial neural tube closure in mouse embryos. We found that Fhod3 is expressed in the lateral neural plate but not in the floor region of the closing neural plate at the hindbrain.
- Epithelia contribute to physical barriers that protect internal tissues from the external environment and also support organ structure. Accordingly, establishment and maintenance of epithelial architecture are essential for both embryonic development and adult physiology. Here, using gene knockout and knockdown techniques along with gene profiling, we show that extracellular signal–regulated kinase 3 (ERK3), a poorly characterized atypical mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), regulates the epithelial architecture in vertebrates.
- Under various conditions of liver injury, the intrahepatic biliary epithelium undergoes dynamic tissue expansion and remodeling, a process known as ductular reaction. Mouse models defective in inducing such a tissue-remodeling process are more susceptible to liver injury, suggesting a crucial role of this process in liver regeneration. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating the biliary epithelial cell (BEC) dynamics in the ductular reaction remain largely unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 5 (Klf5) is highly enriched in mouse liver BECs and plays a key role in regulating the ductular reaction, specifically under cholestatic injury conditions.
- During tissue development, transcription factors bind regulatory DNA regions called enhancers, often located at great distances from the genes they regulate, to control gene expression. The enhancer landscape during embryonic stem cell differentiation has been well characterized. By contrast, little is known about the shared and unique enhancer regulatory mechanisms in different ectodermally derived epithelial cells. Here we use ChIP sequencing (ChIP-seq) to identify domains enriched for the histone marks histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation, histone H3 lysine 4 monomethylation, and histone H3 lysine 27 acetylation (H3K4me3, H3K4me1, and H3K27ac) and define, for the first time, the super enhancers and typical enhancers active in primary human corneal epithelial cells.
- Cofactors of LIM domain proteins, CLIM1 and CLIM2, are widely expressed transcriptional cofactors that are recruited to gene regulatory regions by DNA-binding proteins, including LIM domain transcription factors. In the cornea, epithelium-specific expression of a dominant negative (DN) CLIM under the keratin 14 (K14) promoter causes blistering, wounding, inflammation, epithelial hyperplasia, and neovascularization followed by epithelial thinning and subsequent epidermal-like differentiation of the corneal epithelium.