Crumbs (Crb) is a conserved determinant of apical membrane identity that regulates epithelial morphogenesis in many developmental contexts. In this study, we identify the Crb complex protein Stardust (Sdt) as a target of the E3 ubiquitin ligase Neuralized (Neur) in Drosophila melanogaster. Neur interacts with and down-regulates specific Sdt isoforms containing a Neur binding motif (NBM). Using a CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-induced deletion of the NBM-encoding exon, we found that Sdt is a key Neur target and that Neur acts via Sdt to down-regulate Crb. We further show that Neur promotes the endocytosis of Crb via the NBM-containing isoforms of Sdt. Although the regulation of Crb by Neur is not strictly essential, it contributes to epithelium remodeling in the posterior midgut and thereby facilitates the trans-epithelial migration of the primordial germ cells in early embryos. Thus, our study uncovers a novel regulatory mechanism for the developmental control of Crb-mediated morphogenesis.
- Submitted: 1 December 2016
- Revision received 13 February 2017
- Accepted: 23 February 2017
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