Cell Biology

Getting Oriented

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  30 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5744, pp. 2138
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5744.2138a

When cells within tissues divide, the orientation of the mitotic spindle defines the position of the daughter cells and thereby dictates cell fate. Théry et al. explored the relative effects of cell geometry and extracellular cues on how mammalian cells orient their division axis in vitro. Cells adhered to the substrate via interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM), and the authors used micro-contact printing to lay down the ECM component fibronectin in well-defined patterns. By looking at how cells spread and divided on these surfaces, the authors found that the spatial organization of the ECM influences via retraction fibers the dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton, which then specifies the orientation of the division axis. This system can be manipulated to look at other regulatory inputs onto spindle orientation and hence daughter cell positioning, which may be useful in tissue engineering and device design. — SMH

Nat. Cell Biol. 10.1038/ncb1307 (2005).

Navigate This Article