Single-celled tubules represent a complicated structure that forms during development, requiring extension of a narrow cytoplasm surrounding a lumen exerting osmotic pressure that can burst the luminal membrane. Genetic studies on the excretory canal cell of Caenorhabditis elegans have revealed many proteins that regulate the cytoskeleton, vesicular transport, and physiology of the narrow canals. Here, we show that βH-spectrin regulates the placement of intermediate filament proteins forming a terminal web around the lumen, and that the terminal web in turn retains a highly conserved protein (EXC-9/CRIP1) that regulates apical endosomal trafficking. EXC-1/IRG, the binding partner of EXC-9, is also localized to the apical membrane and affects apical actin placement and RAB-8–mediated vesicular transport. The results suggest that an intermediate filament protein acts in a novel pathway to direct the traffic of vesicles to locations of lengthening apical surface during single-celled tubule development.

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