Send to

Choose Destination
Development. 2017 Apr 1;144(7):1137-1145. doi: 10.1242/dev.140764.

Spindle orientation: a question of complex positioning.

Author information

Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA
Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA.
The Gurdon Institute and the Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QN, UK.


The direction in which a cell divides is determined by the orientation of its mitotic spindle at metaphase. Spindle orientation is therefore important for a wide range of developmental processes, ranging from germline stem cell division to epithelial tissue homeostasis and regeneration. In multiple cell types in multiple animals, spindle orientation is controlled by a conserved biological machine that mediates a pulling force on astral microtubules. Restricting the localization of this machine to only specific regions of the cortex can thus determine how the mitotic spindle is oriented. As we review here, recent findings based on studies in tunicate, worm, fly and vertebrate cells have revealed that the mechanisms for mediating this restriction are surprisingly diverse.


Asymmetric cell division; Mitotic spindle; Spindle orientation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center