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Intestinal intermediate filament polypeptides in C. elegans : common and isotype-specific contributions to intestinal ultrastructure and function.

Geisler, Florian and Coch, Richard A. and Richardson, Christine and Goldberg, Martin and Bevilacqua, Carlo and Prevede, Robert and Leube, Rudolf E. (2020) 'Intestinal intermediate filament polypeptides in C. elegans : common and isotype-specific contributions to intestinal ultrastructure and function.', Scientific reports., 10 . p. 3142.


The abundance and diversity of intermediate filaments (IFs) in the C. elegans intestine indicate important contributions to intestinal function and organismal wellbeing. Fluorescent IF reporters localize below the actin-rich brush border and are highly enriched in the lumen-enveloping endotube, which is attached to the C. elegans apical junction. Mapping intestinal viscoelasticity by contact-free Brillouin microscopy reveals that the IF-rich endotube is positioned at the interface between the stiff brush border and soft cytoplasm suggesting a mechanical buffering function to deal with the frequent luminal distortions occurring during food intake and movement. In accordance, depletion of IFB-2, IFC-2 and IFD-2 leads to intestinal lumen dilation although depletion of IFC-1, IFD-1 and IFP-1 do not. Ultrastructural analyses of loss of function mutants further show that IFC-2 mutants have a rarefied endotube and IFB-2 mutants lack an endotube altogether. Remarkably, almost all IFB-2- and IFC-2-deficient animals develop to fertile adults. But developmental retardation, reduced brood size, altered survival and increased sensitivity to microbial toxin, osmotic and oxidative stress are seen in both mutants albeit to different degrees. Taken together, we propose that individual intestinal IF polypeptides contribute in different ways to endotube morphogenesis and cooperate to cope with changing environments.

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Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit © The Author(s) 2020
Date accepted:17 January 2020
Date deposited:28 February 2020
Date of first online publication:21 February 2020
Date first made open access:28 February 2020

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