Beyond polymer polarity: how the cytoskeleton builds a polarized cell

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Nov;9(11):860-73. doi: 10.1038/nrm2522.


Cell polarity relies on the asymmetric organization of cellular components and structures. Actin and microtubules are well suited to provide the structural basis for cell polarization because of their inherent structural polarity along the polymer lattices and intrinsic dynamics that allow them to respond rapidly to polarity cues. In general, the actin cytoskeleton drives the symmetry-breaking process that enables the establishment of a polarized distribution of regulatory molecules, whereas microtubules build on this asymmetry and maintain the stability of the polarized organization. Crosstalk coordinates the functions of the two cytoskeletal systems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / metabolism


  • Actins