Cells split in two at the final step of each division cycle. This division normally bisects through the middle of the cell and generates two equal daughters. However, developmental signals can change the plane of cell cleavage to facilitate asymmetric segregation of fate determinants and control the position and relative sizes of daughter cells. The anaphase spindle instructs the site of cell cleavage in animal cells, hence its position is critical in the regulation of symmetric vs asymmetric cell division. Studies in a variety of models identified evolutionarily conserved mechanisms that control spindle positioning. However, how the spindle determines the cleavage site is poorly understood. Recent results in indicate dual functions for a Gα pathway in positioning the spindle and cleavage furrow. We review asymmetric division of the zygote, with a focus on microtubule-cortex interactions that position the spindle and cleavage plane.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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