The cell adhesion molecule Fasciclin2 regulates brush border length and organization in Drosophila renal tubules.

Nat Commun.
April 2016
Halberg KA
Rainey SM
Veland IR
Neuert H
Dornan AJ
Klämbt C
Davies SA
Dow JA

Multicellular organisms rely on cell adhesion molecules to coordinate cell-cell interactions, and to provide navigational cues during tissue formation. In Drosophila, Fasciclin 2 (Fas2) has been intensively studied due to its role in nervous system development and maintenance; yet, Fas2 is most abundantly expressed in the adult renal (Malpighian) tubule rather than in neuronal tissues. The role Fas2 serves in this epithelium is unknown. Here we show that Fas2 is essential to brush border maintenance in renal tubules of Drosophila. Fas2 is dynamically expressed during tubule morphogenesis, localizing to the brush border whenever the tissue is transport competent. Genetic manipulations of Fas2 expression levels impact on both microvilli length and organization, which in turn dramatically affect stimulated rates of fluid secretion by the tissue. Consequently, we demonstrate a radically different role for this well-known cell adhesion molecule, and propose that Fas2-mediated intermicrovillar homophilic adhesion complexes help stabilize the brush border.