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Apical constriction and invagination downstream of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway require Rho1 and Myosin II.
The tumor suppressor Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) is a negative regulator of Wnt signaling and functions in cytoskeletal organization. Disruption of human APC in colonic epithelia initiates benign polyps that progress to carcinoma following additional mutations. The early events of polyposis are poorly understood, as is the role of canonical Wnt signaling in normal epithelial architecture and morphogenesis. To determine the consequences of complete loss of APC in a model epithelium, we generated APC2 APC1 double null clones in the Drosophila wing imaginal disc. APC loss leads to segregation, apical constriction, and invagination that result from transcriptional activation of canonical Wnt signaling. Further, we show that Wnt-dependent changes in cell fate can be decoupled from Wnt-dependent changes in cell shape. Wnt activation is reported to upregulate DE-cadherin in wing discs, and elevated DE-cadherin is thought to promote apical constriction. We find that apical constriction and invagination of APC null tissue are independent of DE-cadherin elevation, but are dependent on Myosin II activity. Further, we show that disruption of Rho1 suppresses apical constriction and invagination in APC null cells. Our data suggest a novel link between canonical Wnt signaling and epithelial structure that requires activation of the Rho1 pathway and Myosin II.