Molecular Mechanism of Contractile-Ring Assembly in Cytokinesis

Jian-Qiu Wu
Molecular Genetics and MCB, The Ohio State University

(January 11, 2010 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM)

Molecular Mechanism of Contractile-Ring Assembly in Cytokinesis

Abstract

During cytokinesis an actomyosin contractile ring assembles and constricts in coordination with mitosis to properly segregate genetic materials into two daughter cells. The molecular mechanism of contractile-ring assembly remains poorly understood and controversial. We test several assumptions of the two prevailing models for contractile-ring assembly during cytokinesis in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe: the spot/leading cable model and the search, capture, pull, and release (SCPR) model. The two models differ in their predictions for the number of initiation sites of actin assembly and in the role of myosin-II. Monte Carlo simulations of the SCPR model require that the formin Cdc12p is present in >30 nodes from which actin filaments are nucleated and captured by myosin-II in neighboring nodes. The force produced by myosin motors pulls the nodes together to form a compact contractile ring. Live microscopy of cells expressing formin Cdc12p fluorescent fusion proteins shows that Cdc12p localizes to a broad band of 30 to 50 dynamic nodes, where actin filaments are nucleated in random directions. Perturbations of myosin-II motor activity demonstrated that it is required to condense the nodes into a contractile ring. Taken together, these data provide strong support for the stochastic SCPR model of contractile-ring formation in cytokinesis.