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Commun Integr Biol. 2011 Jan;4(1):1-9. doi: 10.4161/cib.4.1.13550.

Structure and functions of stable intercellular bridges formed by incomplete cytokinesis during development.

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Department of Biochemistry; Institute for Cancer Research; Oslo University Hospital; Centre for Cancer Biomedicine; Faculty of Medicine; University of Oslo; Montebello, Oslo, Norway.


Cytokinesis, the final step of cell division, normally proceeds to completion in living organisms, so that daughter cells physically separate by abscission. In certain tissues and developmental stages, on the other hand, the cytokinesis process is incomplete, giving rise to cells interconnected in syncytia by stable intercellular bridges. This evolutionarily conserved physiological process occurs in the female and male germline in species ranging from insects to humans, and has also been observed in some somatic tissues in invertebrates. Stable intercellular bridges have fascinated cell biologists ever since they were first described more than 50 years ago, and even though substantial progress has been made concerning their ultrastructure and molecular composition, much remains to be understood about their biological functions. Another major question is by which mechanisms complete versus incomplete cytokinesis is determined. In this mini-review we will try to give an overview of the current knowledge about the structure, composition and functions of stable intercellular bridges, and discuss recent insights into the molecular control of the incomplete cytokinesis process.


MKLP1; Pav-Klp; anillin; cindr; cytokinesis; incomplete cytokinesis; intercellular communication; oogenesis; ring canal; spermatogenesis; stable intercellular bridge

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