Control of spindle polarity and orientation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Trends Cell Biol. 2001 Apr;11(4):160-6. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(01)01954-7.


Control of mitotic spindle orientation represents a major strategy for the generation of cell diversity during development of metazoans. Studies in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have contributed towards our present understanding of the general principles underlying the regulation of spindle positioning in an asymmetrically dividing cell. In S. cerevisiae, the mitotic spindle must orient along the cell polarity axis, defined by the site of bud emergence, to ensure correct nuclear division between the mother and daughter cells. Establishment of spindle polarity dictates this process and relies on the concerted control of spindle pole function and a precise program of cues originating from the cell cortex that directs cytoplasmic microtubule attachments during spindle morphogenesis. These cues cross talk with the machinery responsible for bud-site selection, indicating that orientation of the spindle in yeast cells is mechanistically coupled to the definition of a polarity axis and the division plane. Here, we propose a model integrating the inherently asymmetric properties of the spindle pathway with the program of positional information contributing towards orienting the spindle in budding yeast. Because the basic machinery orienting the spindle in higher-eukaryotic cells appears to be conserved, it might be expected that similar principles govern centrosome asymmetry in the course of metazoan development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Segregation
  • Microtubules
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / ultrastructure
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism
  • Spindle Apparatus / physiology
  • Spindle Apparatus / ultrastructure*