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Nat Commun. 2017 Jan 3;8:13996. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13996.

Cell division orientation is coupled to cell-cell adhesion by the E-cadherin/LGN complex.

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Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Both cell-cell adhesion and oriented cell division play prominent roles in establishing tissue architecture, but it is unclear how they might be coordinated. Here, we demonstrate that the cell-cell adhesion protein E-cadherin functions as an instructive cue for cell division orientation. This is mediated by the evolutionarily conserved LGN/NuMA complex, which regulates cortical attachments of astral spindle microtubules. We show that LGN, which adopts a three-dimensional structure similar to cadherin-bound catenins, binds directly to the E-cadherin cytosolic tail and thereby localizes at cell-cell adhesions. On mitotic entry, NuMA is released from the nucleus and competes LGN from E-cadherin to locally form the LGN/NuMA complex. This mediates the stabilization of cortical associations of astral microtubules at cell-cell adhesions to orient the mitotic spindle. Our results show how E-cadherin instructs the assembly of the LGN/NuMA complex at cell-cell contacts, and define a mechanism that couples cell division orientation to intercellular adhesion.

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