Migratory cells – either individually or in cohesive groups – are critical for spatiotemporally regulated processes such as embryonic development and wound healing. Their dysregulation is the underlying cause of formidable health problems such as congenital abnormalities and metastatic cancers. Border cell behavior during Drosophila oogenesis provides an effective model to study temporally regulated, collective cell migration in vivo. Developmental timing in flies is primarily controlled by the steroid hormone ecdysone, which acts through a well-conserved, nuclear hormone receptor complex. Ecdysone signaling determines the timing of border cell migration, but the molecular mechanisms governing this remain obscure. We found that border cell clusters expressing a dominant-negative form of ecdysone receptor extended ineffective protrusions. Additionally, these clusters had aberrant spatial distributions of E-cadherin (E-cad), apical domain markers and activated myosin that did not overlap. Remediating their expression or activity individually in clusters mutant for ecdysone signaling did not restore proper migration. We propose that ecdysone signaling synchronizes the functional distribution of E-cadherin, atypical protein kinase C (aPKC), Discs large (Dlg1) and activated myosin post-transcriptionally to coordinate adhesion, polarity and contractility and temporally control collective cell migration.

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