A key goal of developmental biology is to understand the mechanisms that coordinate organ growth. It has long been recognized that the genes that control apico-basal cell polarity also regulate tissue growth. How loss of cell polarity contributes to tissue overgrowth has been the subject of much speculation. Do loss-of-function mutations in cell polarity regulators result in secondary effects that globally deregulate cell proliferation, or do these genes specifically control growth pathways? Three recent papers have shown that the apico-basal polarity determinants Lgl/aPKC and Crb regulate tissue growth independently of their roles in cell polarity and coordinately regulate cell proliferation and cell death via the Salvador/Warts/Hippo (SWH) pathway. Lgl/aPKC are required for the correct localization of Hippo (Hpo)/Ras associated factor (RASSF), while Crb regulates the levels and localization of Expanded (Ex), indicating that cell polarity determinants modify SWH pathway activity by distinct mechanisms. Here, we review the key data that support these conclusions, highlight remaining questions and speculate on the underlying mechanisms by which the cell polarity complexes interact with the SWH pathway. Understanding the interactions between cell polarity regulators and the SWH pathway will improve our knowledge of how epithelial organization and tissue growth are coordinated during development and perturbed in disease states such as cancer
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