Video_8_Planar Asymmetries in the C. elegans Embryo Emerge by Differential Retention of aPARs at Cell-Cell Contacts.AVI

Formation of the anteroposterior and dorsoventral body axis in Caenorhabditis elegans depends on cortical flows and advection of polarity determinants. The role of this patterning mechanism in tissue polarization after formation of cell-cell contacts is not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that planar asymmetries are established during left-right symmetry breaking: Centripetal cortical flows asymmetrically and differentially advect anterior polarity determinants (aPARs) from contacts to the medial cortex, resulting in their unmixing from apical myosin. Contact localization and advection of PAR-6 requires balanced CDC-42 activation, while asymmetric retention and advection of PAR-3 can occur independently of PAR-6. Concurrent asymmetric retention of PAR-3, E-cadherin/HMR-1 and opposing retention of antagonistic CDC-42 and Wnt pathway components leads to planar asymmetries. The most obvious mark of planar asymmetry, retention of PAR-3 at a single cell-cell contact, is required for proper cytokinetic cell intercalation. Hence, our data uncover how planar polarity is established in a system without the canonical planar cell polarity pathway through planar asymmetric retention of aPARs.