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Planar cell polarity signalling controls cell division orientation during zebrafish gastrulation


Oriented cell division is an integral part of pattern development in processes ranging from asymmetric segregation of cell-fate determinants to the shaping of tissues1,2. Despite proposals that it has an important function in tissue elongation3,4, the mechanisms regulating division orientation have been little studied outside of the invertebrates Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster1. Here, we have analysed mitotic divisions during zebrafish gastrulation using in vivo confocal imaging and found that cells in dorsal tissues preferentially divide along the animal–vegetal axis of the embryo. Establishment of this animal–vegetal polarity requires the Wnt pathway components Silberblick/Wnt11, Dishevelled and Strabismus. Our findings demonstrate an important role for non-canonical Wnt signalling in oriented cell division during zebrafish gastrulation, and indicate that oriented cell division is a driving force for axis elongation. Furthermore, we propose that non-canonical Wnt signalling has a conserved role in vertebrate axis elongation, orienting both cell intercalation and mitotic division.

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Figure 1: Imaging analysis of division orientation in zebrafish gastrula.
Figure 2: Relationship between cell elongation and division orientations.
Figure 3: Components of the PCP pathway regulate division orientation.
Figure 4: Contribution of oriented cell division to axis elongation.


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We thank M. Hibi (Zdkk1), M. Park (Stbm MO), J. Wallingford (Xdsh-D2), R. Köster (H2B–GFP), S. Megason (H2B–RFP1 and membrane RFP1), M. Tada (Xdsh-ΔPDZ and Xdsh-DEP + ) and H. McBride (ICAT) for providing the plasmids and morpholino, and C.-P. Heisenberg for the silberblick/wnt11 mutants. We also thank S. Bhattacharyya, M. Bronner-Fraser, M. Garcia-Castro, D. Koos, R. Köster, B. Link, S. Megason and J. Wallingford for discussion and critical reading of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Scott E. Fraser.

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The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Figure 1

This figure shows the details of the Xdd1 mosaic experiment. The time-lapse images show examples of mis-oriented divisions of mosaic Xdd1-expressing cells among wild-type cells that divide normally, indicating that Dsh controls cell division orientation cell autonomously. Divisions of these mosaic Xdd1 cells are plotted in the line graphs. (PDF 1160 kb)

Supplementary Figure 1 Legend (DOC 21 kb)

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Gong, Y., Mo, C. & Fraser, S. Planar cell polarity signalling controls cell division orientation during zebrafish gastrulation. Nature 430, 689–693 (2004).

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