During embryogenesis, asymmetric cell divisions establish distinct cell lineages by partitioning cell-fate determinants unequally in daughter cells. Conserved polarity proteins such as aPKC, PAR-6 and PAR-3 control these asymmetric divisions in worm, fly and mammal embryos. Now, on p. 1592, Janet Chenevert and colleagues report that a cell polarity complex containing these three proteins accumulates during asymmetric division in ascidian embryos at a structure known as the centrosome attracting body (CAB). The CAB – a mass of mRNA-containing cortical ER and electron-dense matrix – orchestrates three asymmetric divisions in early ascidian embryos. The authors show that the aPKC–PAR-6–PAR-3 complex localizes to the CAB and forms a thin layer between the plasma membrane and the mRNA-containing cortical ER. They also observe that astral microtubules from the proximal centrosome contact this area. Because the PAR complex localizes to the CAB just before and during the unequal cleavages in the ascidian embryo, the authors suggest that it is involved in centrosome attraction, during which capture of microtubules from one centrosome by the CAB positions the spindle so that unequal division can occur.