Asymmetric division coordinates collective cell migration in angiogenesis

Guilherme Costa*, Kyle Harrington*, Holly Lovegrove*, Donna Page, Shilpa Chakravartula, Katie Bentley, Shane Herbert

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The asymmetric division of stem or progenitor cells generates daughters with distinct fates and regulates cell diversity during tissue morphogenesis. However, roles for asymmetric division in other more dynamic morphogenetic processes, such as cell migration, have not previously been described. Here we combine zebrafish in vivo experimental and computational approaches to reveal that heterogeneity introduced by asymmetric division generates multicellular polarity that drives coordinated collective cell migration in angiogenesis. We find that asymmetric positioning of the mitotic spindle during endothelial tip cell division generates daughters of distinct size with discrete ‘tip’ or ‘stalk’ thresholds of pro-migratory Vegfr signalling. Consequently, post-mitotic Vegfr asymmetry drives Dll4/Notch-independent self-organization of daughters into leading tip or trailing stalk cells, and disruption of asymmetry randomizes daughter tip/stalk selection. Thus, asymmetric division seamlessly integrates cell proliferation with collective migration, and, as such, may facilitate growth of other collectively migrating tissues during development, regeneration and cancer invasion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1292-1301
JournalNature Cell Biology
Early online date21 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2016


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