Propagating cell polarity during division by force transmission through adherent junctions

Supervising PI

Yohanns Bellaïche (website)


Please follow the guidelines outlined on the recruitment page, and email your application to

Project Description


Cell division orientation is fundamental to tissue organization, morphogenesis and homeostasis. The most conserved rule of cell division orientation is the so-called Hertwig rule stating that cells tend to divide according to their long cell shape axis. We have recently uncovered that tricellular junctions, the junctions where three epithelial cells meet, act as cell shape sensors to guide division orientation according to the Hertwig rule  in Drosophila epithelial tissues (Bosveld et al., Nature 2016). The aims of the proposed project are now to explore

  • how the regulators of the mitotic spindle are localized at tricellular junctions.
  • To better understand the dynamics and biology of tricellular junctions.
  • To determine for the first time at the scale of whole epithelial tissue how cell division orientation impacts the morphogenesis of an epithelial tissue.

Tricellular junctions are a core structure of any epithelial tissue. By advancing our understanding of the role of tricellular junctions in spindle orientation the project will provide novel insights into the role of such general yet poorly explored structure of any epithelial tissue.

Our team is part of the Curie Institute. The Curie Institute is an ideal and challenging environment for any candidate who is deeply interested in cell and developmental biology research. The Institute has state-of-the-art core facilities for microscopy, protein purification and mass spectrometry. In addition, the Curie Institute is ideally located in the center of Paris and, with a large international community of students and scientists, it provides a wonderful environment for foreign students.


  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Opto-genetics
  • High spatial and temporal resolution live imaging.
  • Advanced quantitative tools.


Key publications

  1. Bosveld F, Markova O, Guirao B, Martin C, Wang Z, Pierre A, Balakireva M, Gaugue I, Ainslie A, Christophorou N, Lubensky DK, Minc N, Bellaïche Y. 2016. Epithelial tricellular junctions act as interphase cell shape sensors to orient mitosis. Nature. 530:495-8.
  2. Bardet P-L, Guirao B, Paoletti C, Serman F, Léopold V, Bosveld F, et al. PTEN controls junction lengthening and stability during cell rearrangement in epithelial tissue. Dev Cell. 2013 Jun 10;25(5):534–46.
  3. Herszterg S, Leibfried A, Bosveld F, Martin C, Bellaiche Y. Interplay between the dividing cell and its neighbors regulates adherens junction formation during cytokinesis in epithelial tissue. Dev Cell. 2013 Feb 11;24(3):256–70.
  4. Bosveld F, Bonnet I, Guirao B, Tlili S, Wang Z, Petitalot A, et al. Mechanical control of morphogenesis by Fat/Dachsous/Four-jointed planar cell polarity pathway. Science. 2012 May 11;336(6082):724–7.