Noncentrosomal microtubules and type II myosins potentiate epidermal cell adhesion and barrier formation.
During differentiation, many cells reorganize their microtubule cytoskeleton into noncentrosomal arrays. Although these microtubules are likely organized to meet the physiological roles of their tissues, their functions in most cell types remain unexplored. In the epidermis, differentiation induces the reorganization of microtubules to cell-cell junctions in a desmosome-dependent manner. Here, we recapitulate the reorganization of microtubules in cultured epidermal cells. Using this reorganization assay, we show that cortical microtubules recruit myosin II to the cell cortex in order to engage adherens junctions, resulting in an increase in mechanical integrity of the cell sheets. Cortical microtubules and engaged adherens junctions, in turn, increase tight junction function. In vivo, disruption of microtubules or loss of myosin IIA and B resulted in loss of tight junction-mediated barrier activity. We propose that noncentrosomal microtubules act through myosin II recruitment to potentiate cell adhesion in the differentiating epidermis, thus forming a robust mechanical and chemical barrier against the external environment.
Sumigray, KD; Foote, HP; Lechler, T
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