Collective cell migration is emerging as a major contributor to normal development and disease. Collective movement of border cells in the Drosophila ovary requires cooperation between two distinct cell types: four to six migratory cells surrounding two immotile cells called polar cells. Polar cells secrete a cytokine, Unpaired (Upd), which activates JAK/STAT signaling in neighboring cells, stimulating their motility. Without Upd, migration fails, causing sterility. Ectopic Upd expression is sufficient to stimulate motility in otherwise immobile cells. Thus regulation of Upd is key. Here we report a limited RNAi screen for nuclear proteins required for border cell migration, which revealed that the gene encoding Tousledlike kinase (Tlk) is required in polar cells for Upd expression without affecting polar cell fate. In the absence of Tlk, fewer border cells are recruited and motility is impaired, similar to inhibition of JAK/STAT signaling. We further show that Tlk in polar cells is required for JAK/STAT activation in border cells. Genetic interactions further confirmed Tlk as a new regulator of Upd/JAK/STAT signaling. These findings shed light on the molecular mechanisms regulating the cooperation of motile and nonmotile cells during collective invasion, a phenomenon that may also drive metastatic cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine