October 24, 2011

Breaking up is hard to do. Thankfully for us, breaking up is also very beautiful (in cells). Abscission is the final cleaving of two daughter cells at the end of mitosis, and is really quite stunning to see. So, enjoy today’s images!

Cytokinesis is the physical division of two daughter cells at the end of mitosis. The final step of cytokinesis is abscission, during which the small midbody that connects the two cells is finally cleaved. This process involves precise regulation of cytokinesis proteins; for example, the small GTPase RhoA is required during cytokinesis for the establishment and contraction of the cleavage furrow that develops to divide the cells, yet RhoA must be inactivated for abscission. A kinase protein called CIT-K (citron kinase) was previously shown to function as a downstream effector of RhoA activity, yet a recent paper describes results suggesting the converse—that CIT-K regulates RhoA activity. In addition, Gai and colleagues found that CIT-K also interacts with and regulates anillin, an actin scaffold protein crucial in cytokinesis. The images of midbodies above show the localization of either anillin (left, green) or RhoA (right, green), as well as DNA (blue) and microtubules (red). Compared with control cells (top row), anillin and RhoA were nearly undetectable at late stage midbodies in cells lacking CIT-K (bottom row).

ResearchBlogging.orgGai, M., Camera, P., Dema, A., Bianchi, F., Berto, G., Scarpa, E., Germena, G., & Di Cunto, F. (2011). Citron kinase controls abscission through RhoA and anillin Molecular Biology of the Cell, 22 (20), 3768-3778 DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E10-12-0952

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