Sahu A, Karmakar S, Halder S, Ghosh G, Acharjee S, Dasgupta P, Ghosh R, Deshpande G, Prasad M.
Gap junction (GJ) proteins, the primary constituents of GJ channels, are conserved determinants of patterning. Canonically, a GJ channel, made up of two hemi-channels contributed by the neighboring cells, facilitates transport of metabolites/ions. Here we demonstrate the involvement of GJ proteins during cuboidal to squamous epithelial transition displayed by the anterior follicle cells (AFCs) from Drosophila ovaries. Somatically derived AFCs stretch and flatten when the adjacent germline cells start increasing in size. GJ proteins, Innexin2 (Inx2) and Innexin4 (Inx4), functioning in the AFCs and germline respectively, promote the shape transformation by modulating calcium levels in the AFCs. Our observations suggest that alterations in calcium flux potentiate STAT activity to influence actomyosin-based cytoskeleton, possibly resulting in disassembly of adherens junctions. Our data have uncovered sequential molecular events underlying the cuboidal to squamous shape transition and offer unique insight into how GJ proteins expressed in the neighboring cells contribute to morphogenetic processes.