For nearly 150 years, it has been recognized that cell shape strongly influences the orientation of the mitotic cleavage plane (e.g.; Hofmeister, 1863). However, we still understand little about the complex interplay between cell shape and cleavage-plane orientation in epithelia, where polygonal cell geometries emerge from multiple factors, including cell packing, cell growth, and cell division itself. Here, using mechanical simulations, we show that the polygonal shapes of individual cells can systematically bias the long-axis orientations of their adjacent mitotic neighbors. Strikingly, analyses of both animal epithelia and plant epidermis confirm a robust and nearly identical correlation between local cell topology and cleavage-plane orientation in vivo. Using simple mathematics, we show that this effect derives from fundamental packing constraints. Our results suggest that local epithelial topology is a key determinant of cleavage-plane orientation, and that cleavage-plane bias may be a widespread property of polygonal cell sheets in plants and animals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)