The Ras/MAPK signaling pathway plays pivotal roles during development of metazoans by controlling cell proliferation and cell differentiation elicited, in several instances, by receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). While the internal mechanism of RTK-driven Ras/MAPK signaling is well understood, far less is known regarding its interplay with other co-required signaling events involved in developmental decisions. In a genetic screen designed to identify new regulators of RTK/Ras/MAPK signaling during Drosophila eye development, we identified the small GTPase Rap1, PDZ-GEF and Canoe as components contributing to Ras/MAPK-mediated R7 cell differentiation. Rap1 signaling has recently been found to participate in assembling cadherin-based adherens junctions in various fly epithelial tissues. Here, we show that Rap1 activity is required for the integrity of the apical domains of developing photoreceptor cells and that reduced Rap1 signaling hampers the apical accumulation of the Sevenless (SEV) RTK in presumptive R7 cells. It thus appears that in addition to its role in cell-cell adhesion, Rap1 signaling controls the partitioning of the epithelial cell membrane, which in turn influences signaling events that relies on apico-basal cell polarity.
- Received March 5, 2013.
- Accepted May 27, 2014.
- Copyright © 2014, The Genetics Society of America