- Carminati M, Gallini S, Pirovano L, Alfieri A, Bisi S, Mapelli M
- Concomitant binding of Afadin to LGN and F-actin directs planar spindle orientation.
- Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2016 Jan 11. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.3152.
- Polarized epithelia form by oriented cell divisions in which the mitotic spindle aligns parallel to the epithelial plane. To orient the mitotic spindle, cortical cues trigger the recruitment of NuMA-dynein-based motors, which pull on astral microtubules via the protein LGN. We demonstrate that the junctional protein Afadin is required for spindle orientation and correct epithelial morphogenesis of Caco-2 cysts. Molecularly, Afadin binds directly and concomitantly to F-actin and to LGN. We determined the crystallographic structure of human Afadin in complex with LGN and show that it resembles the LGN-NuMA complex. In mitosis, Afadin is necessary for cortical accumulation of LGN and NuMA above the spindle poles, in an F-actin-dependent manner. Collectively, our results depict Afadin as a molecular hub governing the enrichment of LGN and NuMA at the cortex. To our knowledge, Afadin is the first-described mechanical anchor between dynein and cortical F-actin.