Cellular aspect ratio and cell division mechanics underlie the patterning of cell progeny in diverse mammalian epithelia

Elife. 2018 Jun 13;7:e36739. doi: 10.7554/eLife.36739.


Cell division is essential to expand, shape, and replenish epithelia. In the adult small intestine, cells from a common progenitor intermix with other lineages, whereas cell progeny in many other epithelia form contiguous patches. The mechanisms that generate these distinct patterns of progeny are poorly understood. Using light sheet and confocal imaging of intestinal organoids, we show that lineages intersperse during cytokinesis, when elongated interphase cells insert between apically displaced daughters. Reducing the cellular aspect ratio to minimize the height difference between interphase and mitotic cells disrupts interspersion, producing contiguous patches. Cellular aspect ratio is similarly a key parameter for division-coupled interspersion in the early mouse embryo, suggesting that this physical mechanism for patterning progeny may pertain to many mammalian epithelia. Our results reveal that the process of cytokinesis in elongated mammalian epithelia allows lineages to intermix and that cellular aspect ratio is a critical modulator of the progeny pattern.

Keywords: cell biology; developmental biology; epithelium; intestine; light sheet microscopy; mitosis; mouse; organoid; regenerative medicine; stem cell; stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / physiology
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Lineage / physiology*
  • Cytokinesis / physiology*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / embryology
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Epithelium / embryology
  • Epithelium / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mammals / embryology
  • Mammals / physiology
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Time-Lapse Imaging / methods