Intercellular junctions and cellular polarity: the PAR-aPKC complex, a conserved core cassette playing fundamental roles in cell polarity

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2001 Oct;13(5):641-8. doi: 10.1016/s0955-0674(00)00264-7.


Two PDZ-domain-containing adapter-like proteins, PAR-3 and PAR-6, and a protein kinase, atypical protein kinase C (PKC), cooperate together to establish cell polarity in a variety of biological contexts. These include asymmetric cell division in early Caenorhabditis elegans embryo and Drosophila neuroblasts, as well as the establishment and maintenance of apical-basal polarity in Drosophila and mammalian epithelial cells. Recent studies on the role of this PAR-aPKC complex in epithelial cell polarization provide new insights into the molecular basis of epithelial junctional formation and cell polarity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Epithelium / embryology
  • Helminth Proteins / physiology*
  • Intercellular Junctions / physiology*
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Models, Biological
  • Protein Kinase C / physiology*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proteins / physiology*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Proteins
  • par-6 protein, C elegans
  • PAR-3 protein, C elegans
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • PKC-3 protein
  • Protein Kinase C