The neural tube forms when neural stem cells arrange into a pseudostratified, single-cell–layered epithelium, with a marked apico-basal polarity, and in which adherens junctions (AJs) concentrate in the subapical domain. We previously reported that sustained β-catenin expression promotes the formation of enlarged apical complexes (ACs), enhancing apico-basal polarity, although the mechanism through which this occurs remained unclear. Here, we show that β-catenin interacts with phosphorylated pro-N-cadherin early in its transit through the Golgi apparatus, promoting propeptide excision and the final maturation of N-cadherin. We describe a new β-catenin–dependent interaction of N-cadherin with Drebrin-like (Dbnl), an actin-binding protein that is involved in anterograde Golgi trafficking of proteins. Notably, Dbnl knockdown led to pro-N-cadherin accumulation and limited AJ formation. In brief, we demonstrate that Dbnl and β-catenin assist in the maturation of pro-N-cadherin, which is critical for AJ formation and for the recruitment AC components like aPKC and, consequently, for the maintenance of apico-basal polarity.

This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 International license, as described at
You do not currently have access to this content.