Epithelial organs are made of a well-polarized monolayer of epithelial cells, and their morphology is maintained strictly for their proper functions. Previously, we showed that Rac1 activation is suppressed at the apical membrane in the mature organoid, and that such spatially biased Rac1 activity is required for the polarity maintenance. Here we identify Chimaerin, a GTPase activating protein for Rac1, as a suppressor of Rac1 activity at the apical membrane. Depletion of Chimaerin causes over-activation of Rac1 at the apical membrane in the presence of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), followed by luminal cell accumulation. Importantly, Chimaerin depletion did not inhibit extension formation at the basal membrane. These observations suggest that Chimaerin functions as the apical-specific Rac1 GAP to maintain epithelial morphology.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 20-December-2012
Author(s): Yagi S., Matsuda M., Kiyokawa E.