Editorial: Cell polarity: Trafficking and regulatory events that determine cell asymmetry



Cell polarity refers to the asymmetric distribution of cellular components along defined axes of the cell, which constitutes a fundamental property of most cells, from single-cell organisms to cells in multicellular invertebrates and vertebrates (Nelson, 2003). The ability of cells to generate a specific spatially biased biochemical and morphological organization in response to distinct extracellular or intracellular cues is critical for development and for specialized cell functions, including directional cell migration, phagocytosis, epithelial secretion and absorption, immune response, and transmission and transduction of information by the nervous system (Bryant and Mostov, 2008). Furthermore, cell polarity has a main role in the control of epithelial cell growth, what is underscored by the relationship between tumor suppressors and apico-basal polarity and the fact that loss of polarity is an early hallmark of malignancy arising from epithelial tissues, which constitute the major cause of fatal cancer in adults (Wodarz A and Näthke, 2007). The attainment of the precise, time and spatially organized cell asymmetry in response to extracellular and/or intracellular cues is triggered by different signals in each particular system, but it is orchestrated by a common mechanistic pattern that comprise activation of compartmentalized signaling pathways, major rearrangements of the cytoskeleton, regulation of lipid landscape and polarized membrane trafficking (Figure 1). The present Research Topic contains two review articles, two original research full articles and one brief research report addressing cellular mechanisms that determine cell polarity, which have impact on epithelial homeostasis, directional cell migration, phagocytosis and neuronal function.

Palabras clave

Primary cilia, Sonic hedgehog, Cofilin, Neuronal polarity, Epithelial polarity, Phosphoinositides