Stepping stone: A cytohesin adaptor for membrane cytoskeleton restraint in the syncytial Drosophila embryo

Jiangshu Liu, Donghoon M. Lee, Cao Guo Yu, Stephane Angers, Tony J.C. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Cytohesin Arf-GEFs are conserved plasma membrane regulators. The sole Drosophila cytohesin, Steppke, restrains Rho1-dependent membrane cytoskeleton activity at the base of plasma membrane furrows of the syncytial embryo. By mass spectrometry, we identified a single major Steppke-interacting protein from syncytial embryos, which we named Stepping stone (Sstn). By sequence, Sstn seems to be a divergent homologue of the mammalian cytohesin adaptor FRMD4A. Our experiments supported this relationship. Specifically, heterophilic coiled-coil interactions linked Sstn and Steppke in vivo and in vitro, whereas a separate C-terminal region was required for Sstn localization to furrows. Sstn mutant and RNAi embryos displayed abnormal, Rho1-dependent membrane cytoskeleton expansion from the base of pseudocleavage and cellularization furrows, closely mimicking Steppke loss-of-function embryos. Elevating Sstn furrow levels had no effect on the steppke phenotype, but elevating Steppke furrow levels reversed the sstn phenotype, suggesting that Steppke acts downstream of Sstn and that additional mechanisms can recruit Steppke to furrows. Finally, the coiled-coil domain of Steppke was required for Sstn binding and in addition homodimerization, and its removal disrupted Steppke furrow localization and activity in vivo. Overall we propose that Sstn acts as a cytohesin adaptor that promotes Steppke activity for localized membrane cytoskeleton restraint in the syncytial Drosophila embryo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-725
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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