L’équipe Minc a récemment publié un nouvel article dans Developmental Cell :
Planar spindle orientation is critical for epithelial tissue organization and is generally instructed by the long cell-shape axis or cortical polarity domains. We introduced mouse intestinal organoids in order to study spindle orientation in a monolayered mammalian epithelium. Although spindles were planar, mitotic cells remained elongated along the apico-basal (A-B) axis, and polarity complexes were segregated to basal poles, so that spindles oriented in an unconventional manner, orthogonal to both polarity and geometric cues. Using high-resolution 3D imaging, simulations, and cell-shape and cytoskeleton manipulations, we show that planar divisions resulted from a length limitation in astral microtubules (MTs) which precludes them from interacting with basal polarity, and orient spindles from the local geometry of apical domains. Accordingly, lengthening MTs affected spindle planarity, cell positioning, and crypt arrangement. We conclude that MT length regulation may serve as a key mechanism for spindles to sense local cell shapes and tissue forces to preserve mammalian epithelial architecture.