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Commun Integr Biol. 2011 Jul;4(4):483-5. doi: 10.4161/cib.4.4.15669. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

Cortical localization of maternal embryonic leucine zipper kinase (MELK) implicated in cytokinesis in early xenopus embryos.

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UMR 6061 CNRS Université de Rennes 1; IFR140 GFAS; Equipe Développement et Polarité Cellulaires; Rennes Cedex, France.


MELK has been implicated in a large variety of functions. Because its level is elevated in cancer tissues and it is involved in cell proliferation, MELK is considered as a potential therapeutic target for cancers. In a recent, study we have shown that MELK is involved in cytokinesis in early Xenopus laevis embryos. MELK dynamically accumulates at the cell cortex including a narrow band corresponding to the presumptive division furrow shortly before cytokinesis onset. MELK co-localizes and interacts with anillin an important regulator of cytokinesis. In addition, MELK overexpression interferes with accumulation at the cleavage furrow of activated Rho GTPase another crucial regulator of cytokinesis. Interestingly, our study also revealed that a transition implying a change in the direction of asymmetric furrow ingression occurs during early development. After this transition, MELK, as well as other proteins involved in cytokinesis, do not localize anymore as a band at the equatorial cortex but still localizes at the cell cortex. Our results indicate that cortical localization is an important feature of MELK in X. laevis embryos.


RhoA; anillin; asymmetric furrowing; cell cortex; cytokinesis; mitosis; xenopus

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