Asymmetric cell division

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2004 Apr;16(2):195-205. doi: 10.1016/


Asymmetric cell division is a conserved mechanism for partitioning information during mitosis. Over the past several years, significant progress has been made in our understanding of how cells establish polarity during asymmetric cell division and how determinants, in the form of localized proteins and mRNAs, are segregated. In particular, genetic studies in Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans have linked cell polarity, G protein signaling and regulation of the cytoskeleton to coordination of mitotic spindle orientation and localization of determinants. Also, several new studies have furthered our understanding of how asymmetrically localized cell fate determinants, such as the Numb, a negative regulator Notch signaling, functions in biasing cell fates in the developing nervous system in Drosophila. In vertebrates, analysis of dividing neural progenitor cells by in vivo imaging has raised questions about the role of asymmetric cell divisions during neurogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Polarity / genetics*
  • Cytoskeleton / genetics
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Hormones / genetics
  • Juvenile Hormones / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Animal
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Spindle Apparatus / genetics
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Juvenile Hormones
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Notch
  • numb protein, Drosophila