Compromised junctional integrity phenocopies age-dependent renal dysfunction in Drosophila Snakeskin mutants

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Transporting epithelia provide a protective barrier against pathogenic insults while allowing the controlled exchange of ions, solutes and water with the external environment. In invertebrates, these functions depend on formation and maintenance of ‘tight’ septate junctions (SJs). However, the mechanism by which SJs affect transport competence and tissue homeostasis, and how these are modulated by ageing, remain incompletely understood. Here, we demonstrate that the Drosophila renal (Malpighian) tubules undergo an age-dependent decline in secretory capacity, which correlates with mislocalisation of SJ proteins and progressive degeneration in cellular morphology and tissue homeostasis. Acute loss of the SJ protein Snakeskin in adult tubules induced progressive changes in cellular and tissue architecture, including altered expression and localisation of junctional proteins with concomitant loss of cell polarity and barrier integrity, demonstrating that compromised junctional integrity is sufficient to replicate these ageing-related phenotypes. Taken together, our work demonstrates a crucial link between epithelial barrier integrity, tubule transport competence, renal homeostasis and organismal viability, as well as providing novel insights into the mechanisms underpinning ageing and renal disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjcs261118
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number19
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

    Research areas

  • Ageing, Drosophila, Epithelial barrier function, Malpighian tubule, Polarity, Smooth septate junction, Snakeskin

ID: 373660057