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Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2001 Jun;65(2):319-33 ; third page, table of contents.

Cytokinesis in prokaryotes and eukaryotes: common principles and different solutions.

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Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, BioCentrum Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam, 1090 GB Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Cytokinesis requires duplication of cellular structures followed by bipolarization of the predivisional cell. As a common principle, this applies to prokaryotes as well as eukaryotes. With respect to eukaryotes, the discussion has focused mainly on Saccharomyces cerevisiae and on Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Escherichia coli and to a lesser extent Bacillus subtilis have been used as prokaryotic examples. To establish a bipolar cell, duplication of a eukaryotic origin of DNA replication as well as its genome is not sufficient. Duplication of the microtubule-organizing center is required as a prelude to mitosis, and it is here that the dynamic cytoskeleton with all its associated proteins comes to the fore. In prokaryotes, a cytoskeleton that pervades the cytoplasm appears to be absent. DNA replication and the concomitant DNA segregation seem to occur without help from extensive cytosolic supramacromolecular assemblies but with help from the elongating cellular envelope. Prokaryotic cytokinesis proceeds through a contracting ring, which has a roughly 100-fold-smaller circumference than its eukaryotic counterpart. Although the ring contains proteins that can be considered as predecessors of actin, tubulin, and microtubule-associated proteins, its macromolecular composition is essentially different.

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