Nature communications

Spatio-temporally separated cortical flows and spindle geometry establish physical asymmetry in fly neural stem cells.

PMID 29123099


Asymmetric cell division, creating sibling cells with distinct developmental potentials, can be manifested in sibling cell size asymmetry. This form of physical asymmetry occurs in several metazoan cells, but the underlying mechanisms and function are incompletely understood. Here we use Drosophila neural stem cells to elucidate the mechanisms involved in physical asymmetry establishment. We show that Myosin relocalizes to the cleavage furrow via two distinct cortical Myosin flows: at anaphase onset, a polarity induced, basally directed Myosin flow clears Myosin from the apical cortex. Subsequently, mitotic spindle cues establish a Myosin gradient at the lateral neuroblast cortex, necessary to trigger an apically directed flow, removing Actomyosin from the basal cortex. On the basis of the data presented here, we propose that spatiotemporally controlled Myosin flows in conjunction with spindle positioning and spindle asymmetry are key determinants for correct cleavage furrow placement and cortical expansion, thereby establishing physical asymmetry.