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Wahlstrom, G., Norokorpi, H.L., Heino, T.I. (2006). Drosophila alpha-actinin in ovarian follicle cells is regulated by EGFR and Dpp signalling and required for cytoskeletal remodelling.  Mech. Dev. 123(11): 801--818.
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alpha-Actinin is an evolutionarily conserved actin filament crosslinking protein with functions in both muscle and non-muscle cells. In non-muscle cells, interactions between alpha-actinin and its many binding partners regulate cell adhesion and motility. In Drosophila, one non-muscle and two muscle-specific alpha-actinin isoforms are produced by alternative splicing of a single gene. In wild-type ovaries, alpha-actinin is ubiquitously expressed. The non-muscle alpha-actinin mutant Actn(Delta233), which is viable and fertile, lacks alpha-actinin expression in ovarian germline cells, while somatic follicle cells express alpha-actinin at late oogenesis. Here we show that this latter population of alpha-actinin, termed FC-alpha-actinin, is absent from the dorsoanterior follicle cells, and we present evidence that this is the result of a negative regulation by combined Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and Decapentaplegic signalling. Furthermore, EGFR signalling increased the F-actin bundling activity of ectopically expressed muscle-specific alpha-actinin. We also describe a novel morphogenetic event in the follicle cells that occurs during egg elongation. This event involves a transient repolarisation of the basal actin fibres and the assembly of a posterior beta-integrin-dependent adhesion site accumulating alpha-actinin and Enabled. Clonal analysis using Actn null alleles demonstrated that although alpha-actinin was not necessary for actin fibre formation or maintenance, the cytoskeletal remodelling was perturbed, and Enabled did not localise in the posterior adhesion site. Nevertheless, epithelial morphogenesis proceeded normally. This work provides the first evidence that alpha-actinin is involved in the organisation of the cytoskeleton in a non-muscle tissue in Drosophila.

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