Abnormal regulation of cell migration and altered rearrangement of cytoskeleton are characteristic of metastatic cells. The first described suppressor of metastatic processes is NM23-H1, which displays NDPK (nucleoside-diphosphate kinase) activity. To better understand the role of nm23 genes in cell migration, we investigated the function of NDK-1, the sole Caenorhabditis elegans homolog of group I NDPKs in distal tip cell (DTC) migration. Dorsal phase of DTC migration is regulated by integrin mediated signaling. We find that ndk-1 loss of function mutants show defects in this phase. Epistasis analysis using mutants of the α-integrin ina-1 and the downstream functioning motility-promoting signaling module (referred to as CED-10 pathway) placed NDK-1 downstream of CED-10/Rac. As DTC migration and engulfment of apoptotic corpses are analogous processes, both partially regulated by the CED-10 pathway, we investigated defects of apoptosis in ndk-1 mutants. Embryos and germ cells defective for NDK-1 showed an accumulation of apoptotic cell corpses. Furthermore, NDK-1::GFP is expressed in gonadal sheath cells, specialized cells for engulfment and clearence of apoptotic corpses in germ line, which indicates a role for NDK-1 in apoptotic corpse removal. In addition to the CED-10 pathway, engulfment in the worm is also mediated by the CED-1 pathway. abl-1/Abl and abi-1/Abi, which function in parallel to both CED-10/CED-1 pathways, also regulate engulfment and DTC migration. ndk-1(-);abi-1(-) double mutant embryos display an additive phenotype (e. g. enhanced number of apoptotic corpses) which suggests that ndk-1 acts in parallel to abi-1. Corpse number in ndk-1(-);ced-10(-) double mutants, however, is similar to ced-10(-) single mutants, suggesting that ndk-1 acts downstream of ced-10 during engulfment. In addition, NDK-1 shows a genetic interaction with DYN-1/dynamin, a downstream component of the CED-1 pathway. In summary, we propose that NDK-1/NDPK might represent a converging point of CED-10 and CED-1 pathways in the process of cytoskeleton rearrangement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)