Sonawane, M., Carpio, Y., Geisler, R., Schwarz, H., Maischein, H.M., and Nuesslein-Volhard, C. (2005) Zebrafish penner/lethal giant larvae 2 functions in hemidesmosome formation, maintenance of cellular morphology and growth regulation in the developing basal epidermis. Development (Cambridge, England). 132(14):3255-3265.
Epithelial cells are equipped with junctional complexes that are involved in maintaining tissue architecture, providing mechanical integrity and suppressing tumour formation as well as invasiveness. A strict spatial segregation of these junctional complexes leads to the polarisation of epithelial cells. In vertebrate epithelia, basally localised hemidesmosomes mediate stable adhesion between epithelial cells and the underlying basement membrane. Although components of hemidesmosomes are relatively well known, the molecular machinery involved in governing the formation of these robust junctions, remains elusive. Here, we have identified the first component of this machinery using a forward genetic approach in zebrafish as we show that the function of penner (pen)/lethal giant larvae 2 (lgl2) is necessary for hemidesmosome formation and maintenance of the tissue integrity in the developing basal epidermis. Moreover, in pen/lgl2 mutant, basal epidermal cells hyper-proliferate and migrate to ectopic positions. Of the two vertebrate orthologues of the Drosophila tumour suppressor gene lethal giant larvae, the function of lgl2 in vertebrate development and organogenesis remained unclear so far. Here, we have unravelled an essential function of lgl2 during development of the epidermis in vertebrates.