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Bioessays. 2000 Apr;22(4):311-5.

Spiny legs and prickled bodies: new insights and complexities in planar polarity establishment.

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EMBL, Developmental Biology Program, Heidelberg, Germany.


Epithelial cells can be polarized along two axes, namely in the apical-basolateral axis and in the horizontal plane of the epithelium. Vertebrate examples of planar polarization include aspects of skin development or features in internal organs, such as the inner ear epithelium. In insects like Drosophila, adult cuticular structures show planar polarization. Studies on planar polarity in Drosophila have identified several genes that regulate this process. Notably, the Frizzled receptor and its signaling cascade provide an entry point to the molecular aspects of planar polarization. A recent study by Gubb et al.((1)) of the prickle locus, which encodes a cytoplasmic protein with three LIM domains, provides new insights and raises several interesting questions that can now be addressed. Pk might serve a scaffolding function involved in assembling a protein complex required for planar polarity establishment.

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