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EMBO J. 2019 Feb 1;38(3). pii: e100072. doi: 10.15252/embj.2018100072. Epub 2018 Nov 26.

Tissue tension and not interphase cell shape determines cell division orientation in the Drosophila follicular epithelium.

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Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA.
Department of Biomedical Genetics, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, USA.
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA.
School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
Bateson Centre, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA


We investigated the cell behaviors that drive morphogenesis of the Drosophila follicular epithelium during expansion and elongation of early-stage egg chambers. We found that cell division is not required for elongation of the early follicular epithelium, but drives the tissue toward optimal geometric packing. We examined the orientation of cell divisions with respect to the planar tissue axis and found a bias toward the primary direction of tissue expansion. However, interphase cell shapes demonstrate the opposite bias. Hertwig's rule, which holds that cell elongation determines division orientation, is therefore broken in this tissue. This observation cannot be explained by the anisotropic activity of the conserved Pins/Mud spindle-orienting machinery, which controls division orientation in the apical-basal axis and planar division orientation in other epithelial tissues. Rather, cortical tension at the apical surface translates into planar division orientation in a manner dependent on Canoe/Afadin, which links actomyosin to adherens junctions. These findings demonstrate that division orientation in different axes-apical-basal and planar-is controlled by distinct, independent mechanisms in a proliferating epithelium.


cell division; epithelia; morphogenesis; spindle orientation; tissue biology

[Available on 2020-02-01]

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