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Publication Detail
PIG-1 MELK-dependent phosphorylation of nonmuscle myosin II promotes apoptosis through CES-1 Snail partitioning.
The mechanism(s) through which mammalian kinase MELK promotes tumorigenesis is not understood. We find that the C. elegans orthologue of MELK, PIG-1, promotes apoptosis by partitioning an anti-apoptotic factor. The C. elegans NSM neuroblast divides to produce a larger cell that differentiates into a neuron and a smaller cell that dies. We find that in this context, PIG-1 is required for partitioning of CES-1 Snail, a transcriptional repressor of the pro-apoptotic gene egl-1 BH3-only. pig-1 MELK is controlled by both a ces-1 Snail- and par-4 LKB1-dependent pathway, and may act through phosphorylation and cortical enrichment of nonmuscle myosin II prior to neuroblast division. We propose that pig-1 MELK-induced local contractility of the actomyosin network plays a conserved role in the acquisition of the apoptotic fate. Our work also uncovers an auto-regulatory loop through which ces-1 Snail controls its own activity through the formation of a gradient of CES-1 Snail protein.
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