Polarity is a universal feature of cells during division and often at other stages of the cell cycle or after post-mitotic differentiation. A conserved machinery, present in all animals, initiates and maintains polarity. Multi-cellular animals organize themselves with respect to the axes of symmetry of the organism through the process of planar cell polarity, but many tissues also express a cell-intrinsic form of polarity, for instance to segregate the apical and basolateral membranes of epithelial cells. Although the genes and proteins involved in apical-basal polarity have been known for many years, the regulation of their expression remains ill-defined. Maintenance of the correct expression levels is essential for normal cell lineage allocation, tissue morphogenesis and cell survival. Here we summarize what is known about the transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of polarity protein expression, and discuss areas that remain to be understood.
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