The dedicator of cytokinesis (DOCK) family proteins are known as one of guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), that contribute to cellular signaling processes by activating small G proteins. Although mammalian Zizimin is known to be a GEF for Cdc42 of Rho family small GTPase, its role in vivo is not well understood. Here we studied in vivo function of Drosophila Zizimin (Ziz). Knockdown of Ziz in eye imaginal discs induced the rough eye phenotype accompanied with fusion of ommatidia, loss of bristles and loss of pigments. Immunostaining analyses revealed that Ziz mainly localizes in the secondary pigment cells (SPCs) and tertiary pigment cells (TPCs) in pupal retinae. Ziz-knockdown induced SPC- and TPC-like cells with aberrant morphology in the pupal retina. Delta (Dl), a downstream target of EGFR signaling is known to regulate pigment cell differentiation. Loss-of-function mutation of Dl suppressed the rough eye phenotype and the defect in differentiation of SPCs and TPCs in Ziz-knockdown flies. Moreover, Ziz-knockdown increased Dl expression level especially in SPCs and TPCs. In addition, mutations of rhomboid-1 and roughoid that are activators of EGFR signaling pathway also suppressed both the rough eye phenotype and the defect in differentiation of SPCs and TPCs in Ziz-knockdown flies. Activation of EGFR signaling in Ziz-knockdown flies were further confirmed by immunostaining with anti-diphospho ERK IgG. These results indicate that Ziz negatively regulates the Dl expression in SPCs and TPCs to control differentiation of pigment cells and this regulation is mediated by EGFR signaling pathway.
Keywords: Zizimin, DOCK, EGFR signaling pathway, pigment cell, Drosophila
2017 The Author(s) CC-BY 4.0 (Submission before October 2016: Copyright © Japan Society for Cell Biology)