Pan, X., Sittaramane, V., Gurung, S., and Chandrasekhar, A. (2014) Structural and temporal requirements of Wnt/PCP protein Vangl2 function for convergence and extension movements and facial branchiomotor neuron migration in zebrafish. Mechanisms of Development. 131:1-14.
Van gogh-like 2 (Vangl2), a core component of the Wnt/planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling pathway, is a four-pass transmembrane protein with N-terminal and C-terminal domains located in the cytosol, and is structurally conserved from flies to mammals. In vertebrates, Vangl2 plays an essential role in convergence and extension (CE) movements during gastrulation and in facial branchiomotor (FBM) neuron migration in the hindbrain. However, the roles of specific Vangl2 domains, of membrane association, and of specific extracellular and intracellular motifs have not been examined, especially in the context of FBM neuron migration. Through heat shock-inducible expression of various Vangl2 transgenes, we found that membrane associated functions of the N-terminal and C-terminal domains of Vangl2 are involved in regulating FBM neuron migration. Importantly, through temperature shift experiments, we found that the critical period for Vangl2 function coincides with the initial stages of FBM neuron migration out of rhombomere 4. Intriguingly, we have also uncovered a putative nuclear localization motif in the C-terminal domain that may play a role in regulating CE movements.