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Development. 2011 May;138(10):1877-92. doi: 10.1242/dev.054080.

Principles of planar polarity in animal development.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Planar polarity describes the coordinated polarisation of cells or structures in the plane of a tissue. The patterning mechanisms that underlie planar polarity are well characterised in Drosophila, where many events are regulated by two pathways: the 'core' planar polarity complex and the Fat/Dachsous system. Components of both pathways also function in vertebrates and are implicated in diverse morphogenetic processes, some of which self-evidently involve planar polarisation and some of which do not. Here, we review the molecular mechanisms and cellular consequences of planar polarisation in diverse contexts, seeking to identify the common principles across the animal kingdom.

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