Slit cleavage into an N-terminal and C-terminal polypeptides is essential for restricting the range of Slit activity. Although the Slit cleavage site has been characterized previously and is evolutionally conserved, the identity of the protease that cleaves Slit remains elusive. Our previous analysis indicated that Slit cleavage is essential to immobilize the active Slit-N at the tendon cell surfaces, mediating the arrest of muscle elongation. In an attempt to identify the protease required for Slit cleavage we performed an RNAi-based assay in the ectoderm and followed the process of elongation of the lateral transverse muscles toward tendon cells. The screen led to the identification of the Drosophila homolog of Pheromone Convertase 2 (PC2) Amontillado (Amon) as an essential protease for Slit cleavage. Further analysis indicated that Slit mobility on SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis is slightly up-shifted in amon mutants, and its conventional cleavage into the Slit-N and Slit-C polypeptides is attenuated. Consistent with the requirement for Amon to promote Slit cleavage and membrane immobilization of Slit-N, the muscle phenotype of amon mutant embryos was rescued by co-expressing a membrane-bound form of full-length Slit lacking the cleavage site and knocked into the slit locus. The identification of a novel protease component essential for Slit processing may represent an additional regulatory step in the Slit signaling pathway.
- Received July 14, 2016.
- Accepted September 7, 2016.
- © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
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