Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The Journal of Cell Biology


Department of Biological Sciences


Dendritic growth in fungi and neurons requires that multiple axes of polarity are established and maintained within the same cytoplasm. We have discovered that transcripts encoding key polarity factors including a formin, Bni1, and a polarisome scaffold, Spa2, are nonrandomly clustered in the cytosol to initiate and maintain sites of polarized growth in the fungus Ashbya gossypii. This asymmetric distribution requires the mRNAs to interact with a polyQ-containing protein, Whi3, and a Pumilio protein with a low-complexity sequence, Puf2. Cells lacking Whi3 or Puf2 had severe defects in establishing new sites of polarity and failed to localize Bni1 protein. Interaction of mRNAs with Whi3 and Puf2 promotes enrichment of transcripts at established sites of polarized growth and clustering of polarity transcripts throughout the cell body. Thus, aggregation-prone proteins make functional assemblies to position polarity transcripts, and nonrandom positioning of transcripts is required for symmetry-breaking events. This reveals a physiological function for polyQ-driven assemblies in regulating cell polarity.