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J Cell Biol. 2002 Sep 2;158(5):901-14. Epub 2002 Sep 3.

The CeCDC-14 phosphatase is required for cytokinesis in the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo.

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Department of Cell Biology, Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, D-82152 Martinsried, Germany.


In all eukaryotic organisms, the physical separation of two nascent cells must be coordinated with chromosome segregation and mitotic exit. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe this coordination depends on a number of genes that cooperate in intricate regulatory pathways termed mitotic exit network and septum initiation network, respectively. Here we have explored the function of potentially homologous genes in a metazoan organism, Caenorhabditis elegans, using RNA-mediated interference. Of all the genes tested, only depletion of CeCDC-14, the C. elegans homologue of the budding yeast dual-specificity phosphatase Cdc14p (Clp1/Flp1p in fission yeast), caused embryonic lethality. We show that CeCDC-14 is required for cytokinesis but may be dispensable for progression of the early embryonic cell cycles. In response to depletion of CeCDC-14, embryos fail to establish a central spindle, and several proteins normally found at this structure are mislocalized. CeCDC-14 itself localizes to the central spindle in anaphase and to the midbody in telophase. It colocalizes with the mitotic kinesin ZEN-4, and the two proteins depend on each other for correct localization. These findings identify the CDC14 phosphatase as an important regulator of central spindle formation and cytokinesis in a metazoan organism.

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