The ability to dictate cell fate decisions is critical during animal development. Moreover, faithful execution of this process ensures proper tissue homeostasis throughout adulthood, whereas defects in the molecular machinery involved may contribute to disease. Evolutionarily conserved protein complexes control cell fate decisions across diverse tissues. Maintaining proper daughter cell inheritance patterns of these determinants during mitosis is therefore a fundamental step of the cell fate decision-making process. In this review, we will discuss two key aspects of this fate determinant segregation activity, cortical cell polarity and mitotic spindle orientation, and how they operate together to produce oriented cell divisions that ultimately influence daughter cell fate. Our focus will be directed at the principal underlying molecular mechanisms and the specific cell fate decisions they have been shown to control.
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