Rac1 orientates epithelial apical polarity through effects on basolateral laminin assembly

Lucy Erin O'Brien, Tzuu Shuh Jou, Anne L. Pollack, Qihang Zhang, Steen H. Hansen, Peter Yurchenco, Keith E. Mostov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

384 Scopus citations


Cellular polarization involves the generation of asymmetry along an intracellular axis. In a multicellular tissue, the asymmetry of individual cells must conform to the overlying architecture of the tissue. However, the mechanisms that couple cellular polarization to tissue morphogenesis are poorly understood. Here, we report that orientation of apical polarity in developing Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) epithelial cysts requires the small GTPase Rac1 and the basement membrane component laminin. Dominant-negative Rac1 alters the supramolecular assembly of endogenous MDCK laminin and causes a striking inversion of apical polarity. Exogenous laminin is recruited to the surface of these cysts and rescues apical polarity. These findings implicate Rac1-mediated laminin assembly in apical pole orientation. By linking apical orientation to generation of the basement membrane, epithelial cells ensure the coordination of polarity with tissue architecture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-838
Number of pages8
JournalNature Cell Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Rac1 orientates epithelial apical polarity through effects on basolateral laminin assembly'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this