Anthrax toxin receptor 2a controls mitotic spindle positioning
Oriented mitosis is essential during tissue morphogenesis. The Wnt/planar cell polarity (Wnt/PCP) pathway orients mitosis in a number of developmental systems, including dorsal epiblast cell divisions along the animal-vegetal (A-V) axis during zebrafish gastrulation. How Wnt signalling orients the mitotic plane is, however, unknown. Here we show that, in dorsal epiblast cells, anthrax toxin receptor 2a (Antxr2a) accumulates in a polarized cortical cap, which is aligned with the embryonic A-V axis and forecasts the division plane. Filamentous actin (F-actin) also forms an A-V polarized cap, which depends on Wnt/PCP and its effectors RhoA and Rock2. Antxr2a is recruited to the cap by interacting with actin. Antxr2a also interacts with RhoA and together they activate the diaphanous-related formin zDia2. Mechanistically, Antxr2a functions as a Wnt-dependent polarized determinant, which, through the action of RhoA and zDia2, exerts torque on the spindle to align it with the A-V axis.