Comparing contractile apparatus-driven cytokinesis mechanisms across kingdoms

Authors

  • Mohan K. Balasubramanian,

    Corresponding author
    1. Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, National University of Singapore, 1 Research Link, Singapore 117604
    2. Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore, 5A Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117411
    3. Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543
    • Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, National University of Singapore, 1 Research Link, Singapore 117604
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  • Ramanujam Srinivasan,

    1. Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore, 5A Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117411
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  • Yinyi Huang,

    1. Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore, 5A Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117411
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  • Kian-Hong Ng

    1. Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, National University of Singapore, 1 Research Link, Singapore 117604
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  • Monitoring Editor: Douglas Robinson

Abstract

Cytokinesis is the final stage of the cell cycle during which a cell physically divides into two daughters through the assembly of new membranes (and cell wall in some cases) between the forming daughters. New membrane assembly can either proceed centripetally behind a contractile apparatus, as in the case of prokaryotes, archaea, fungi, and animals or expand centrifugally, as in the case of higher plants. In this article, we compare the mechanisms of cytokinesis in diverse organisms dividing through the use of a contractile apparatus. While an actomyosin ring participates in cytokinesis in almost all centripetally dividing eukaryotes, the majority of bacteria and archaea (except Crenarchaea) divide using a ring composed of the tubulin-related protein FtsZ. Curiously, despite molecular conservation of the division machinery components, division site placement and its cell cycle regulation occur by a variety of unrelated mechanisms even among organisms from the same kingdom. While molecular motors and cytoskeletal polymer dynamics contribute to force generation during eukaryotic cytokinesis, cytoskeletal polymer dynamics alone appears to be sufficient for force generation during prokaryotic cytokinesis. Intriguingly, there are life forms on this planet that appear to lack molecules currently known to participate in cytokinesis and how these cells perform cytokinesis remains a mystery waiting to be unravelled. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc

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