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Prion. 2009 Apr-Jun;3(2):84-8. Epub 2009 Apr 21.

The centrosome and asymmetric cell division.

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Life Sciences Institute, Center for Stem Cell Biology, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2216, USA.


Asymmetric stem cell division is a mechanism widely employed by the cell to maintain tissue homeostasis, resulting in the production of one stem cell and one differentiating cell. However, asymmetric cell division is not limited to stem cells and is widely observed even in unicellular organisms as well as in cells that make up highly complex tissues. In asymmetric cell division, cells must organize their intracellular components along the axis of asymmetry (sometimes in the context of extracellular architecture). Recent studies have described cell asymmetry in many cell types and in many cases such asymmetry involves the centrosome (or spindle pole body in yeast) as the center of cytoskeleton organization. In this review, I summarize recent discoveries in cellular polarity that lead to an asymmetric outcome, with a focus on centrosome function.

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