The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 58: 325 - 333 (2014)

Vol 58, Issue 5

α integrin cytoplasmic tails have tissue-specific roles during C. elegans development

Original Article | Published: 1 October 2014

Christopher M. Meighan1,* and Jean E. Schwarzbauer2

1Department of Molecular Biology and Chemistry, Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA, USA and 2Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA


Integrin signaling impacts many developmental processes. The complexity of these signals increases when multiple, unique integrin heterodimers are expressed during a single developmental event. Since integrin heterodimers have different signaling capabilities, the signals originating at each integrin type must be separated in the cell. C. elegans have two integrin heterodimers, α INA-1/β PAT-3 and α PAT-2/β PAT-3, which are expressed individually or simultaneously, based on tissue type. We used chimeric α integrins to assess the role of α integrin cytoplasmic tails during development. Chimeric integrin ina-1 with the pat-2 cytoplasmic tail rescued lethality and maintained neuron fasciculation in an ina-1 mutant. Interestingly, the pat-2 tail was unable to completely restore distal tip cell migration and vulva morphogenesis. Chimeric integrin pat-2 with the ina-1 cytoplasmic tail had a limited ability to rescue a lethal mutation in pat-2, with survivors showing aberrant muscle organization, yet normal distal tip cell migration. In a wild type background, α integrin pat-2 with the ina-1 cytoplasmic tail had a dominant negative effect which induced muscle disorganization, cell migration defects and lethality. These results show the α integrin cytoplasmic tails impact unique cellular behaviors that vary by tissue type during development.


integrin, morphogenesis, distal tip cell, muscle

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