Planar polarization of the atypical myosin Dachs orients cell divisions in Drosophila

Genes Dev. 2011 Jan 15;25(2):131-6. doi: 10.1101/gad.610511.


Tissues can grow in a particular direction by controlling the orientation of cell divisions. This phenomenon is evident in the developing Drosophila wing epithelium, where the tissue becomes elongated along the proximal-distal axis. We show that orientation of cell divisions in the wing requires planar polarization of an atypical myosin, Dachs. Our evidence suggests that Dachs constricts cell-cell junctions to alter the geometry of cell shapes at the apical surface, and that cell shape then determines the orientation of the mitotic spindle. Using a computational model of a growing epithelium, we show that polarized cell tension is sufficient to orient cell shapes, cell divisions, and tissue growth. Planar polarization of Dachs is ultimately oriented by long-range gradients emanating from compartment boundaries, and is therefore a mechanism linking these gradients with the control of tissue shape.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / cytology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Myosins / metabolism*
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism
  • Wings, Animal / cytology
  • Wings, Animal / embryology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • dachs protein, Drosophila
  • Myosins