Various signaling pathways regulate shaping of the main body axis during early vertebrate development. Here, we focused on the role of protein-tyrosine phosphatase signaling in convergence and extension cell movements. We identified Ptpn20 as a structural paralogue of PTP-BL and both phosphatases were required for normal gastrulation cell movements. Interestingly, knockdowns of PTP-BL and Ptpn20 evoked similar developmental defects as knockdown of RPTPalpha and PTPepsilon. Co-knockdown of RPTPalpha and PTP-BL, but not Ptpn20, had synergistic effects and conversely, PTPepsilon and Ptpn20, but not PTP-BL, cooperated, demonstrating the specificity of our approach. RPTPalpha and PTPepsilon knockdowns were rescued by constitutively active RhoA, whereas PTP-BL and Ptpn20 knockdowns were rescued by dominant negative RhoA. Consistently, RPTPalpha and PTP-BL had opposite effects on RhoA activation, both in a PTP-dependent manner. Downstream of the PTPs, we identified NGEF and Arhgap29, regulating RhoA activation and inactivation, respectively, in convergence and extension cell movements. We propose a model in which two phosphatases activate RhoA and two phosphatases inhibit RhoA, resulting in proper cell polarization and normal convergence and extension cell movements.
van Eekelen, M., Runtuwene, V., Masselink, W., & den Hertog, J. (2012). Pair-wise regulation of convergence and extension cell movements by four phosphatases via RhoA. PLoS ONE, 7(4), [e35913]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0035913