Asymmetric divisions produce daughter cells with different fates, and thus are critical for animal development. During asymmetric divisions, the mitotic spindle must be positioned on a polarized axis to ensure the differential segregation of cell fate determinants into the daughter cells. In many cell types, a cortically localized complex consisting of Gα, GPR-1/2, and LIN-5 (Gαi/Pins/Mud, Gαi/LGN/NuMA) mediates the recruitment of dynactin/dynein, which exerts pulling forces on astral microtubules to physically position the spindle. The conserved PAR polarity proteins are known to regulate both cytoplasmic asymmetry and spindle positioning in many cases. However, spindle positioning also occurs in response to cell signaling cues that appear to be PARindependent. In the four-cell Caenorhabditis elegans embryo, Wnt and Mes-1/Src-1 signaling pathways act partially redundantly to align the spindle on the anterior/posterior axis of the endomesodermal (EMS) precursor cell. It is unclear how those extrinsic signals individually contribute to spindle positioning and whether either pathway acts via conserved spindle positioning regulators. Here, we genetically test the involvement of Gα, LIN-5, and their negative regulator LET-99, in transducing EMS spindle positioning polarity cues. We also examined whether the C. elegans ortholog of another spindle positioning regulator, DLG-1, is required. We show that LET-99 acts in the Mes-1/Src-1 pathway for spindle positioning. LIN-5 is also required for EMS spindle positioning, possibly through a Gα- and DLG-1-independent mechanism.
- Asymmetric division
ASJC Scopus subject areas