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Development. 2003 Aug;130(16):3767-80.

A 90-degree rotation of the mitotic spindle changes the orientation of mitoses of zebrafish neuroepithelial cells.

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Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Universität zu Köln, 50923 Köln, Germany.


In the neural plate and neural tube in the trunk region of the zebrafish embryo, dividing cells are oriented parallel to the plane of the neuroepithelium, while in neural keel/rod, cells divide perpendicular to it. This change in the orientation of mitosis is brought about by a 90 degrees rotation of the mitotic spindle. As the two halves of the neural primordium in keel/rod stage are in apposition, the perpendicular orientation of mitoses in this stage determines that daughter cells become allocated to both sides of the neural tube. To assess the role played by cell junctions in controlling the orientation of dividing cells, we studied the expression of components of adherens and tight junctions in the neuroepithelial cells. We find that these proteins are distributed irregularly at the neural plate stage and become polarised apically in the cell membrane only during the keel/rod stage. The stereotypic orientation of mitoses is perturbed only weakly upon loss of function of the cell junction components ASIP and aPKClambda, suggesting that mitotic orientation depends in part on the integrity of cell junctions and the polarity of the epithelium as a whole. However, the 90-degree rotation of the spindle does not require perfectly polarised cell junctions between the neuroepithelial cells.

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