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Volume 2 (2002), Pages 434-454
Mini-Review Article

Coupling Planar Cell Polarity Signaling to Morphogenesis

1Department of Pathology, L235, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5324, USA
2Developmental Patterning Laboratory, ICRF, 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PX, UK

Received 7 November 2001; Revised 6 December 2001; Accepted 14 December 2001

Copyright © 2002 Jeffrey D. Axelrod and Helen McNeill.


Epithelial cells and other groups of cells acquire a polarity orthogonal to their apical–basal axes, referred to as Planar Cell Polarity (PCP). The process by which these cells become polarized requires a signaling pathway using Frizzled as a receptor. Responding cells sense cues from their environment that provide directional information, and they translate this information into cellular asymmetry. Most of what is known about PCP derives from studies in the fruit fly, Drosophila. We review what is known about how cells translate an unknown signal into asymmetric cytoskeletal reorganization. We then discuss how the vertebrate processes of convergent extension and cochlear hair-cell development may relate to Drosophila PCP signaling.