Apical complex genes control mitotic spindle geometry and relative size of daughter cells in Drosophila neuroblast and pI asymmetric divisions

Cell. 2003 Jan 10;112(1):51-62. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(02)01170-4.


Drosophila neuroblast asymmetric divisions generate two daughters of unequal size and fate. A complex of apically localized molecules mediates basal localization of cell fate determinants and apicobasal orientation of the mitotic spindle, but how daughter cell size is controlled remains unclear. Here we show that mitotic spindle geometry and unequal daughter cell size are controlled by two parallel pathways (Bazooka/DaPKC and Pins/G alpha i) within the apical complex. While the localized activity of either pathway alone is sufficient to mediate the generation of an asymmetric mitotic spindle and unequal size neuroblast daughters, loss of both pathways results in symmetric divisions. In sensory organ precursors, Bazooka/DaPKC and Pins/G alpha i localize to opposite sides of the cortex and function in opposition to generate a symmetric spindle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cell Size*
  • Centrosome / metabolism
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genotype
  • Mitosis
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Pupa
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Spindle Apparatus / genetics*
  • Transgenes


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering