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The C. elegans excretory cell (EC) is a powerful model for tubulogenesis, a conserved process that requires precise cytoskeletal regulation. EXC-6, an ortholog of the disease-associated formin INF2, coordinates cell outgrowth and lumen formation during EC tubulogenesis by regulating F-actin at the tip of the growing canal and the dynamics of basolateral microtubules. EXC-6 functions in parallel with EXC-5/FGD, a predicted activator of the Rho GTPase Cdc42. Here, we identify the parallel pathway: EXC-5 functions through CDC-42 to regulate two other formins: INFT-2, another INF2 ortholog, and CYK-1, the sole ortholog of the mammalian diaphanous (mDia) family of formins. We show that INFT-2 promotes F-actin accumulation in the EC, and that CYK-1 inhibits INFT-2 to regulate F-actin levels and EXC-6-promoted outgrowth. As INF2 and mDia physically interact and cross-regulate in cultured cells, our work indicates that a conserved EXC-5-CDC-42 pathway modulates this regulatory interaction and that it is functionally important in vivo during tubulogenesis. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Daniel D Shaye, Iva Greenwald. A network of conserved formins, regulated by the guanine exchange factor EXC-5 and the GTPase CDC-42, modulates tubulogenesis in vivo. Development (Cambridge, England). 2016 Nov 15;143(22):4173-4181

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PMID: 27697907

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