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Trends Microbiol. 2010 Jan;18(1):38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2009.10.002. Epub 2009 Dec 1.

Cytokinesis and the contractile ring in fission yeast: towards a systems-level understanding.

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Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. <>


Cytokinesis, the final stage of the cell division cycle, requires the proper placement, assembly and contraction of an actomyosin-based contractile ring. Conserved sets of cytokinesis proteins and pathways have now been identified and characterized functionally. Additionally, fluorescent protein fusion technology enables quantitative high-resolution imaging of protein dynamics in living cells. For these reasons, the study of cytokinesis is now ripe for quantitative, systems-level approaches. Here, we review our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms of contractile ring dynamics in the model organism Schizosaccharomyces pombe (fission yeast), focusing on recent examples that illustrate a synergistic integration of quantitative experimental data with computational modeling. A picture of a highly dynamic and integrated system consisting of overlapping networks is beginning to emerge, the detailed nature of which remains to be elucidated.

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