Motile cilia generate constant fluid flow over epithelial tissue, and thereby influence diverse physiological processes. Such functions of ciliated cells depend on the planar polarity of the cilia and on their basal bodies being oriented in the downstream direction of fluid flow. Recently, another type of basal body planar polarity, characterized by the anterior localization of the basal bodies in individual cells, was reported in the multiciliated ependymal cells that line the surface of brain ventricles. However, little is known about the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which this polarity is established. Here, we report in mice that basal bodies move in the apical cell membrane during differentiation to accumulate in the anterior region of ependymal cells. The planar cell polarity signaling pathway influences basal body orientation, but not their anterior migration, in the neonatal brain. Moreover, we show by pharmacological and genetic studies that non-muscle myosin II is a key regulator of this distribution of basal bodies. This study demonstrates that the orientation and distribution of basal bodies occur by distinct mechanisms.
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