Planar cell polarity signaling: the developing cell's compass

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2009 Sep;1(3):a002964. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a002964.


Cells of many tissues acquire cellular asymmetry to execute their physiologic functions. The planar cell polarity system, first characterized in Drosophila, is important for many of these events. Studies in Drosophila suggest that an upstream system breaks cellular symmetry by converting tissue gradients to subcellular asymmetry, whereas a downstream system amplifies subcellular asymmetry and communicates polarity between cells. In this review, we discuss apparent similarities and differences in the mechanism that controls PCP as it has been adapted to a broad variety of morphological cellular asymmetries in various organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Cilia / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Developmental Biology / methods*
  • Drosophila
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation
  • Signal Transduction*