The orientation of the mitotic spindle determines the direction of cell division, and therefore contributes to tissue shape and cell fate. Interaction between the multifunctional scaffolding protein Discs large (Dlg) and the canonical spindle orienting factor GPSM2 (called Pins in Drosophila and LGN in vertebrates) has been established in bilaterian models, but its function remains unclear. We used a phylogenetic approach to test whether the interaction is obligate in animals, and in particular whether Pins/LGN/GPSM2 evolved in multicellular organisms as a Dlg-binding protein. We show that Dlg diverged in C. elegans and the syncytial sponge O. minuta and propose that this divergence may correspond to differences in spindle orientation requirements between these organisms and the canonical pathways described in bilaterians. We also demonstrate that Pins/LGN/GPSM2 is present in basal animals, but the established Dlg-interaction site cannot be found in either Placozoa or Porifera. Our results suggest that the interaction between Pins/LGN/GPSM2 and Dlg appeared in Cnidaria, and we therefore speculate that it may have evolved to promote accurate division orientation in the nervous system. This work reveals the evolutionary history of the Pins/LGN/GPSM2-Dlg interaction and suggests new possibilities for its importance in spindle orientation during epithelial and neural tissue development.

This content is only available via PDF.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview