Progenitor cells in the mammalian forebrain can undergo either symmetric or asymmetric cell divisions by varying their cleavage orientation. In asymmetric divisions, cells distribute apically and basally localized proteins differentially to their daughters. Here we explore the intrinsic polarity of neuroepithelial cells in the developing telencephalon. Actin microfilaments are concentrated apically, forming beltlike structures that encircle spots of gamma-tubulin immunoreactivity. Staining for N-cadherin, beta-catenin, and the tyrosine kinase substrates pp120 and paxillin is also enriched at the lumenal surface, presumably due to the localization of these proteins at adherens junctions. Phosphotyrosine immunoreactivity is concentrated apically in rings, suggesting that adherens junctions are enriched for signaling molecules. In mitotic cells it appears that adherens junction proteins and phosphotyrosine immunoreactivity may be inherited either symmetrically or asymmetrically, depending on the cell's cleavage orientation during mitosis. The differential inheritance of junctional proteins may determine whether a daughter cell can respond to extrinsic signals after mitosis.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.