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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2008 Oct;18(5):472-8. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2008.10.005. Epub 2008 Nov 12.

Timing cell-fate determination during asymmetric cell divisions.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.


From invertebrates to mammals, cell-cycle progression during an asymmetric cell division is accompanied by precisely timed redistribution of cell-fate determinants so that they segregate asymmetrically to enable the two daughter cells to choose different fates. Interestingly, studies on how cell fates are specified in such divisions reveal that the same fate determinants can be reiteratively used to specify a variety of cell types through multiple rounds of cell divisions or to exert seemingly contradictory effects on cell proliferation and differentiation. Here I summarize the molecular mechanisms governing asymmetric cell division and review recent findings pointing to a novel mechanism for coupling intracellular signaling and cell-cycle progression. This mechanism uses changes in the morphology, subcellular distribution, and molecular composition of cellular organelles like the Golgi apparatus and centrosomes, which not only accompany the progression of cell cycle to activate but also temporally constrain the activity of fate determinants during asymmetric cell divisions.

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