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Cell Struct Funct. 2001 Dec;26(6):633-8.

The mechanism of cytokinesis: reconsideration and reconciliation.

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Department of Physiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester 01605, USA.


The widely held models of cytokinesis contend that signals for cleavage are transmitted by astral microtubules, and that such signals elicit the assembly and contraction of an equatorial band of actin-myosin II filaments. However, experiments during the past decade have painted an increasingly complex picture, including strong evidence for the involvement of chromosomal passenger proteins and interzonal microtubules, and the involvement of not only cortical contraction but also cytoskeletal disintegration. The purpose of this article is to consider alternative models that might better accommodate both old and new observations. It is proposed that chromosomal passenger proteins undergo dynamic associations at centromeres during metaphase and are recruited from the cytoplasm to both astral and interzonal microtubules during anaphase. In addition, cytokinesis may be driven by global inward contractions coupled to a localized collapse of the equatorial cortex.

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