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Science 300 (5627): 1957-1961

Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Translation of Polarity Cues into Asymmetric Spindle Positioning in Caenorhabditis elegans Embryos

Kelly Colombo,1 Stephan W. Grill,2 Randall J. Kimple,3 Francis S. Willard,3 David P. Siderovski,3 Pierre Gönczy1*

Abstract: Asymmetric divisions are crucial for generating cell diversity; they rely on coupling between polarity cues and spindle positioning, but how this coupling is achieved is poorly understood. In one-cell stage Caenorhabditis elegans embryos, polarity cues set by the PAR proteins mediate asymmetric spindle positioning by governing an imbalance of net pulling forces acting on spindle poles. We found that the GoLoco-containing proteins GPR-1 and GPR-2, as well as the G{alpha} subunits GOA-1 and GPA-16, were essential for generation of proper pulling forces. GPR-1/2 interacted with guanosine diphosphate-bound GOA-1 and were enriched on the posterior cortex in a par-3– and par-2–dependent manner. Thus, the extent of net pulling forces may depend on cortical G{alpha} activity, which is regulated by anterior-posterior polarity cues through GPR-1/2.

1 Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), 1066 Epalinges/Lausanne, Switzerland.
2 Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, 01307 Dresden, Germany.
3 Department of Pharmacology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: pierre.gonczy{at}

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