New research identifies mechanism to polarize epithelia cells
29 August 2017
A new study from UCL Institute of Ophthalmology has identified a mechanism to drive polarization of epithelia cells.
Epithelia are the most common cell type in our body and carry out many organ-specific essential functions. To do so, epithelia need to develop distinct cell surface domains: they polarize.
The study, led by the IoO’s Dr Ceniz Zihni, identified an evolutionarily conserved mechanism involving RhoGTPse-MRCK core signalling to drive polarization of epithelial cells. This was achieved in cells from the kidney, the intestine, and the eye.
The molecular mechanism relies on the generation of mechanical force powered by a molecular motor that drives cell polarization.
The discovery of the mechanism has potential to further research into finding effective treatments for various forms of eye disease. Dr Zihni explained, “Identification of this mechanism allows for further work for a pathway of discovery to rescue the function of polarized cells in diseases that, in the eye, are due to epithelial and photoreceptor degeneration.”
An evolutionarily conserved RhoGTPase-MRCK mechanism controls epithelial apical morphogenesis during polarization.