A localized Wnt signal orients asymmetric stem cell division in vitro

Shukry Habib, Bi-Chang Chen, Feng-Chiao Tsai, Konstantinos Anastassiadis, Tobias Meyer, Eric Betzig, Roel Nusse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

252 Citations (Scopus)


Developmental signals such as Wnts are often presented to cells in an oriented manner. To examine the consequences of local Wnt signaling, we immobilized Wnt proteins on beads and introduced them to embryonic stem cells in culture. At the single-cell level, the Wnt-bead induced asymmetric distribution of Wnt-β-catenin signaling components, oriented the plane of mitotic division, and directed asymmetric inheritance of centrosomes. Before cytokinesis was completed, the Wnt-proximal daughter cell expressed high levels of nuclear β-catenin and pluripotency genes, whereas the distal daughter cell acquired hallmarks of differentiation. We suggest that a spatially restricted Wnt signal induces an oriented cell division that generates distinct cell fates at predictable positions relative to the Wnt source.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1445-1448
Number of pages4
Issue number6126
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2013


  • Animals
  • Asymmetric Cell Division
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Centrosome
  • Cytokinesis
  • Embryonic Stem Cells
  • Gene Expression
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mitosis
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Transcription Factors
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway
  • Wnt3A Protein
  • beta Catenin


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