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Is left-right asymmetry a form of planar cell polarity?
Sherry Aw, Michael Levin


Consistent left-right (LR) patterning is a clinically important embryonic process. However, key questions remain about the origin of asymmetry and its amplification across cell fields. Planar cell polarity (PCP) solves a similar morphogenetic problem, and although core PCP proteins have yet to be implicated in embryonic LR asymmetry, studies of mutations affecting planar polarity, together with exciting new data in cell and developmental biology, provide a new perspective on LR patterning. Here we propose testable models for the hypothesis that LR asymmetry propagates as a type of PCP that imposes coherent orientation onto cell fields, and that the cue that orients this polarization is a chiral intracellular structure.


  • We thank Jennifer Zallen, Janine Beisson, Cliff Tabin, Ann Ramsdell, Chris McManus, Stephane Noselli, Ying Zhang and members of the Levin laboratory for many useful discussions. The authors are supported by the March of Dimes, American Heart Association and NIH (M.L.), and by the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research, Singapore (S.A.). Deposited in PMC for release after 12 months.

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