MRCKα is activated by caspase cleavage to assemble an apical actin ring for epithelial cell extrusion

Paolo Armando Gagliardi, Desiana Somale, Alberto Puliafito, Giulia Chiaverina, Laura di Blasio, Michele Oneto, Paolo Bianchini, Federico Bussolino, Luca Primo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extrusion of apoptotic cells from epithelial tissues requires orchestrated morphological rearrangements of the apoptotic cell and its neighbors. However, the connections between the apoptotic cascade and events leading to extrusion are not fully understood. Here, we characterize an apoptotic extrusion apical actin ring (EAAR) that is assembled within the apoptotic cell and drives epithelial extrusion. Caspase-mediated cleavage of myotonic dystrophy kinase-related CDC42-binding kinase-α (MRCKα) triggers a signaling pathway that leads to the assembly of EAAR that pulls actin bundles, resulting in the compaction and removal of the cell body. We provide a detailed portrait of the EAAR including F-actin flow, the contribution of myosin contraction, and actin polymerization at bundles' terminals when the product of MRCKα cleavage is expressed. These results add to our understanding of the mechanisms controlling the process of epithelial extrusion by establishing a causal relationship between the triggering events of apoptosis, the activation of MRCKα, and its subsequent effects on the dynamics of actomyosin cytoskeleton rearrangement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-249
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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