The orientation of cell divisions determines the shape of Drosophila organs

Curr Biol. 2005 Sep 20;15(18):1640-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2005.07.062.


Organ shape depends on the coordination between cell proliferation and the spatial arrangement of cells during development. Much is known about the mechanisms that regulate cell proliferation, but the processes by which the cells are orderly distributed remain unknown. This can be accomplished either by random division of cells that later migrate locally to new positions (cell allocation) or through polarized cell division (oriented cell division; OCD). Recent data suggest that the OCD is involved in some morphogenetic processes such as vertebrate gastrulation, neural tube closure, and growth of shoot apex in plants; however, little is known about the contribution of OCD during organogenesis. We have analyzed the orientation patterns of cell division throughout the development of wild-type and mutant imaginal discs of Drosophila. Our results show a causal relationship between the orientation of cell divisions in the imaginal disc and the adult morphology of the corresponding organs, indicating a key role of OCD in organ-shape definition. In addition, we find that a subset of planar cell polarity genes is required for the proper orientation of cell division during organ development.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Cell Polarity / genetics
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Drosophila / growth & development*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Models, Biological
  • Organ Size / genetics
  • Organ Size / physiology*
  • Organogenesis / genetics
  • Organogenesis / physiology*
  • Spindle Apparatus / ultrastructure
  • Tubulin
  • Wings, Animal / anatomy & histology*
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development


  • Cadherins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Tubulin
  • ds protein, Drosophila
  • ft protein, Drosophila