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Curr Biol. 2009 Dec 15;19(23):2043-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.10.050. Epub 2009 Dec 3.

Clustering of centralspindlin is essential for its accumulation to the central spindle and the midbody.

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Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QN, UK.


Cytokinesis in animal cells requires the central spindle and midbody, which contain prominent microtubule bundles. Centralspindlin, a heterotetrameric complex consisting of kinesin-6 and RhoGAP (Rho-family GTPase-activating protein) subunits, is essential for the formation of these structures. Centralspindlin becomes precisely localized to the central spindle, where it promotes the equatorial recruitment of important cytokinetic regulators. These include ECT2, the activator of the small GTPase RhoA, which controls cleavage furrow formation and ingression. Centralspindlin's own RhoGAP domain also contributes to furrow ingression. Finally, centralspindlin facilitates recruitment of the chromosome passenger complex and factors that control abscission. Despite the importance of localized accumulation of centralspindlin, the mechanism by which this motor protein complex suddenly concentrates to the center of interpolar microtubule bundles during anaphase is unclear. Here, we show that centralspindlin travels along central spindle microtubules as higher-order clusters. Clustering of centralspindlin is critical for microtubule bundling and motility along microtubules in vitro and for midbody formation in vivo. These data support a positive feedback loop of centralspindlin clustering and microtubule organization that may underlie its distinctive localization during cytokinesis.

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