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Symmetry Breaking in Biology

Subject Area(s):  Developmental BiologyCell BiologyMolecular BiologyBiophysics

Edited by Rong Li, The Stowers Institute for Medical Research; Bruce Bowerman, Institute of Molecular Biology and Department of Biology, University of Oregon

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© 2010 • 301 pp., illus., index
Hardcover •
ISBN  978-0-879698-89-8

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Symmetry breaking events are critical for the survival of living systems. They are required for cell division, development, and movement in all organisms from single-celled species to human beings. Moreover, in multicellular organisms, symmetry breaking allows the generation of cells with different fates and underpins the complex arrangement of tissues and organs achieved during embryogenesis.

Written and edited by experts in the field, this collection from Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology explores how symmetry breaking occurs in biology and the roles of these events at numerous different levels. The contributors examine the mechanisms by which cells polarize, divide asymmetrically, and produce asymmetric structures, providing examples from bacteria, yeast, plants, invertebrates, and mammals.

Including discussions of the molecular basis of polarization mechanisms, asymmetric division of stem cells during development, the generation of left-right asymmetry of the body axis in mammals, and theoretical approaches to symmetry breaking, the volume is a vital reference for molecular, cell, and developmental biologists, as well as physical scientists interested in how and why symmetry breaking occurs in living systems.


Symmetry Breaking in Biology
Rong Li and Bruce Bowerman
Cytoskeletal Mechanisms for Breaking Cellular Symmetry
R. Dyche Mullins
Widely Conserved Signaling Pathways in the Establishment of Cell Polarity
Luke Martin McCaffrey and Ian G. Macara
Membrane Organization and Dynamics in Cell Polarity
Kelly Orlando and Wei Guo
Physical Model of Cellular Symmetry Breaking
Jasper van der Gucht and Cécile Sykes
Cellular Polarity in Prokaryotic Organisms
Jonathan Dworkin
Shaping Fission Yeast with Microtubules
Fred Chang and Sophie G. Martin
Symmetry Breaking in the Life Cycle of the Budding Yeast
Brian D. Slaughter, Sarah E. Smith, and Rong Li
Cellular Symmetry Breaking During Caenorhabditis elegans Development
Edwin Munro and Bruce Bowerman
Polarization of Drosophila Neuroblasts During Asymmetric Division
Kenneth E. Prehoda
Polarity in Stem Cell Division: Asymmetric Stem Cell Division in Tissue Homeostasis
Yukiko M. Yamashita, Hebao Yuan, Jun Cheng, and Alan J. Hunt
Symmetry Breaking in Plants: Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Asymmetric Cell Divisions in Arabidopsis
Jalean J. Petricka, Jaimie M. Van Norman, and Philip N. Benfey
The Signaling Mechanisms Underlying Cell Polarity and Chemotaxis
Fei Wang
Remodeling Epithelial Cell Organization: Transitions Between Front–Rear and Apical–Basal Polarity
W. James Nelson
Neuronal Polarity
Sabina Tahirovic and Frank Bradke
Planar Cell Polarity Signaling: The Developing Cell’s Compass
Eszter K. Vladar, Dragana Antic, and Jeffrey D. Axelrod
Symmetry Breaking During Drosophila Oogenesis
Siegfried Roth and Jeremy A. Lynch
Left–Right Determination: Involvement of Molecular Motor KIF3, Cilia, and Nodal Flow
Nobutaka Hirokawa, Yosuke Tanaka, and Yasushi Okada

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