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J Cell Sci. 2000 May;113 ( Pt 10):1813-25.

Molecular mechanism of myosin-II assembly at the division site in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

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Division of Biology, Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Schizosaccharomyces pombe cells divide by virtue of the F-actin-based contractile ring (F-actin ring). Two myosin-II heavy chains, Myo2 and Myp2/Myo3, have been localized to the F-actin ring. Here, we investigated the mechanism of myosin-II assembly at the division site in S. pombe cells. First, we showed that Cdc4, an EF-hand protein, appears to be a common myosin light chain associated with both Myo2 and Myo3. Loss of function of both Myo2 and Myo3 caused a defect in F-actin assembly at the division site, like the phenotype of cdc4 null cells. It is suggested that Myo2, Myo3 and Cdc4 function in a cooperative manner in the formation of the F-actin ring during mitosis. Next, we investigated the dynamics of myosin-II during mitosis in S. pombe cells. In early mitosis when accumulation of F-actin cables in the medial region was not yet observed, Myo2 was detected primarily as dots widely located in the medial cortex. Myo2 fibers also became visible following the appearance of the dots. The Myo2 dots and fibers then fused with each other to form a medial cortical network. Some Myo2 dots appeared to be localized with F-actin cables which are also accumulated in the medial region. Finally these structures were packed into a thin contractile ring. In mutant cells that cannot form the F-actin ring such as cdc3(ts), cdc8(ts) and cdc12(ts), Myo2 was able to accumulate as dots in the medial cortex, whereas no accumulation of Myo2 dots was detected in cdc4(ts) cells. Moreover, disruption of F-actin in the cell by applying latrunculin-A did not affect the accumulation of Myo2 dots, suggesting that F-actin is not required for their accumulation. A truncated Myo2 which lacks putative Cdc4-binding sites (Myo2dIQs) was able to rescue myo2 null cells, myo3 null cells, cdc4(ts) mutant cells and cdc4 null cells. The Myo2dIQs could assemble into a normal-shaped ring in these cells. Therefore, its assembly at the division site does not require the function of either Cdc4 or Myo3.

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