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Front. Cell Dev. Biol. | doi: 10.3389/fcell.2018.00034

Cell Chirality Drives Left-right Asymmetric Morphogenesis

Mikiko Inaki1,  Takeshi Sasamura1 and  Kenji Matsuno1*
  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Osaka University, Japan

Most macromolecules found in cells are chiral, meaning that they cannot be superimposed onto their mirror image. However, cells themselves can also be chiral, a subject that has received little attention until very recently. In our studies on the mechanisms of left-right (LR) asymmetric development in Drosophila, we discovered that cells can have an intrinsic chirality to their structure, and that this “cell chirality” is generally responsible for the LR asymmetric development of certain organs in this species. The actin cytoskeleton plays important roles in the formation of cell chirality. In addition, Myosin31DF (Myo31DF), which encodes Drosophila Myosin ID, was identified as a molecular switch for cell chirality. In other invertebrate species, including snails and Caenorhabditis elegans, chirality of the blastomeres, another type of cell chirality, determines the LR asymmetry of structures in the body. Thus, chirality at the cellular level may broadly contribute to LR asymmetric development in various invertebrate species. Recently, cell chirality was also reported for various vertebrate cultured cells, and studies suggested that cell chirality is evolutionarily conserved, including the essential role of the actin cytoskeleton. Although the biological roles of cell chirality in vertebrates remain unknown, it may control LR asymmetric development or other morphogenetic events. The investigation of cell chirality has just begun, and this new field should provide valuable new insights in biology and medicine.

Keywords: cell chirality, left-right asymmetry, f actin, Myosin I, Drosophila

Received: 17 Nov 2017; Accepted: 14 Mar 2018.

Edited by:

Takaaki Matsui, Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), Japan

Reviewed by:

Makoto Sato, Kanazawa University, Japan
Hidetaka Shiratori, Kyoto Sangyo University, Japan  

Copyright: © 2018 Inaki, Sasamura and Matsuno. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Kenji Matsuno, Osaka University, Department of Biological Sciences, 1-1 Machikaneyama, Suita, 560-0043, Osaka, Japan,