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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience


The Buckley lab is excited to share our new paper, in collaboration with the Zernicka-Goetz lab, just out in The EMBO Journal: ‘E-cadherin mediates apical membrane initiation site localisation during de novo polarisation of epithelial cavities’,

We use polarising mouse embryonic stem cells to show that, during de novo polarisation of epithelial tubes and cavities, the site of apical membrane initiation is defined by E-cadherin-mediated cell adhesion independently of cell division.


Lay summary: We have uncovered a new mechanism by which the cells that make up epithelial organs first localise their inner (apical) surface. The cells put this surface at the point at which they meet other cells (at cell-cell adhesions). This is important, since it allows a continuous, fluid filled tube or cavity to arise in the centre of many different types of early organ, even when they are actively growing (and so the cells are moving around and dividing a lot). Some other papers have suggested that mis-localising this early apical surface might underly epithelial tumour formation. Therefore, finding this new mechanism has important implications both for how epithelial organs arise during normal development and what might be at the route of some diseases.