Changes in cell shape affect many critical cellular and bodily processes, like wound healing and developmental events, and when gone awry, metastatic processes in cancer. Evolutionarily conserved signaling pathways govern regulation of these cellular changes. The Jun-N-terminal kinase pathway regulates cell stretching during wound healing and normal development. An extensively studied developmental process is embryonic dorsal closure in fruit flies, a well-established model for the regulation and manner of this cell shape changes.
Here researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico describe and characterize a processed, long non-coding RNA locus, acal, that adds a new layer of complexity to the Jun-N-terminal kinase signaling, acting as a negative regulator of the pathway. acal modulates the expression of two key genes in the pathway: the scaffold protein Cka, and the transcription factor Aop. Together, they enable the proper level of Jun-N-terminal kinase pathway activation to occur to allow cell stretching and closure.
- Ríos-Barrera LD, Gutiérrez-Pérez I, Domínguez M, Riesgo-Escovar JR (2015) acal is a Long Non-coding RNA in JNK Signaling in Epithelial Shape Changes during Drosophila Dorsal Closure. PLoS Genet 11(2): e1004927.[article]