TES-1/Tes and ZYX-1/Zyxin protect junctional actin networks under tension during epidermal morphogenesis in the C. elegans embryo

Alison Lynch, Yuyun Zhu, Bethany Lucas, Jonathan Winkelman, Keliya Bai, Sterling Martin, Samuel Block, Mark Slabodnick, Anjon Audhya, Bob Goldstein, Jonathan Pettitt, Margaret Gardel, Jeff Hardin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During embryonic morphogenesis, the integrity of epithelial tissues depends on the ability of cells in tissue sheets to undergo rapid changes in cell shape while preventing self-injury to junctional actin networks. LIM domain-containing repeat (LCR) proteins are recruited to sites of strained actin filaments associated with stress fibers in cultured cells 1-3, and are therefore promising candidates for mediating self-healing of actin networks at cell-cell junctions, but their roles in living organisms have not been extensively studied. Here, we establish roles for the Caenorhabditis elegans LCR proteins TES-1/Tes and ZYX- 1/Zyxin at apical junctions during epithelial morphogenesis. TES-1 and ZYX-1 are recruited to apical junctions during embryonic elongation, when junctions are under tension; in genetic backgrounds in which embryonic elongation fails, junctional recruitment of both proteins is severely compromised. The two proteins display complementary patterns of expression: TES-1 is expressed mainly in lateral (seam) epidermal cells, whereas ZYX-1 is expressed in dorsal and ventral epidermal cells. tes-1 and zyx-1 mutant embryos display junctional F-actin defects, and loss of TES-1 strongly enhances tension-dependent injury of junctional actin networks in hypomorphic mutant backgrounds for cadherin/catenin complex components. Consistent with a role in stabilizing junctional actin networks during rapid cell shape change, the LCR regions of TES-1 and ZYX-1 are both recruited to stress fiber strain sites (SFSSs) in cultured vertebrate cells. Together, these data establish TES-1 and ZYX-1 as components of a multicellular, tension-sensitive system that stabilizes the junctional actin cytoskeleton during embryonic morphogenesis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5189-5199
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number23
Early online date15 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2022


  • C elegans
  • morphogenesis
  • zyxin
  • Tes
  • LIM domain containing protein
  • Cell cell adhesion
  • cadherin
  • F-actin
  • α-catenin
  • mechanobiology


Dive into the research topics of 'TES-1/Tes and ZYX-1/Zyxin protect junctional actin networks under tension during epidermal morphogenesis in the C. elegans embryo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this