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Huelsmann, S., Hepper, C., Marchese, D., Knoll, C., Reuter, R. (2006). The PDZ-GEF dizzy regulates cell shape of migrating macrophages via Rap1 and integrins in the Drosophila embryo.  Development 133(15): 2915--2924.
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In Drosophila embryos, macrophages originate from the cephalic mesoderm and perform a complex migration throughout the entire embryo. The molecular mechanisms regulating this cell migration remain largely unknown. We identified the Drosophila PDZ G-nucleotide exchange factor (PDZ-GEF) Dizzy as a component essential for normal macrophage migration. In mutants lacking Dizzy, macrophages have smaller cellular protrusions, and their migration is slowed down significantly. This phenotype appears to be cell-autonomous, as it is also observed in embryos with a dsRNA-induced reduction of dizzy function in macrophages. In a complementary fashion, macrophages overexpressing Dizzy are vastly extended and form very long protrusions. These cell shape changes depend on the function of the small GTPase Rap1: in rap1 mutants, Dizzy is unable to induce the large protrusions. Furthermore, forced expression of a dominant-active form of Rap1, but not of the wild-type form, induces similar cell shape changes as Dizzy does overexpression. These findings suggest that Dizzy acts through Rap1. We propose that integrin-dependent adhesion is a Rap1-mediated target of Dizzy activity: in integrin mutants, neither Dizzy nor Rap1 can induce cell shape changes in macrophages. These data provide the first link between a PDZ-GEF, the corresponding small GTPase and integrin-dependent cell adhesion during cell migration in embryonic development.

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