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Journal Article

On the mechanism of cleavage furrow ingression in Dictyostelium


Weber,  I.
Gerisch, Günther / Cell Dynamics, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Weber, I. (2001). On the mechanism of cleavage furrow ingression in Dictyostelium. Cell Structure and Function, 26(6), 577-584.

Cite as:
The ability of Dictyostelium cells to divide without myosin II in a cell cycle-coupled manner has opened two questions about the mechanism of cleavage furrow ingression. First, are there other possible functions for myosin II in this process except for generating contraction of the furrow by a sliding filament mechanism? Second, what could be an alternative mechanical basis for the furrowing? Using aberrant changes of the cell shape and anomalous localization of the actin-binding protein cortexillin I during asymmetric cytokinesis in myosin II- deficient cells as clues, it is proposed that myosin II filaments act as a mechanical lens in cytokinesis. The mechanical lens serves to focus the forces that induce the furrowing to the center of the midzone, a cortical region where cortexillins are enriched in dividing cells. Additionally, continual disassembly of a filamentous actin meshwork at the midzone is a prerequisite for normal ingression of the cleavage furrow and a successful cytokinesis. If this process is interrupted, as it occurs in cells that lack cortexillins, an overassembly of filamentous actin at the midzone obstructs the normal cleavage. Disassembly of the crosslinked actin network can generate entropic contractile forces in the cortex, and may be considered as an alternative mechanism for driving ingression of the cleavage furrow. Instead of invoking different types of cytokinesis that operate under attached and unattached conditions in Dictyostelium, it is anticipated that these cells use a universal multifaceted mechanism to divide, which is only moderately sensitive to elimination of its constituent mechanical processes.