Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)

Inducing "cytokinesis" without mitosis in unfertilized Drosophila eggs.

PMID 22801541


Selection of the cleavage plane during cytokinesis in dividing cells is linked to the position of the mitotic spindle. A major player in cleavage plane positioning is believed to be the anaphase central spindle and its associated signaling complex called centralspindlin, composed of MgcRacGap and MKLP1. Centralspindlin has the capacity to induce furrowing of the cell cortex by promoting the localized activation of RhoA, which in turn promotes assembly of the contractile ring. We have found a way to induce a cytokinesis-like process in unfertilized Drosophila eggs and very early embryos, when spindle structures are few and located far from invaginating egg cortex. The simple injection of a small molecule inhibitor of Cdk1/Cyclin B (either Roscovitin or RO3306) is sufficient to promote membrane invagination near the site of injection. The furrow generated is in many respects similar to a classical cleavage furrow. Actin, myosin, anillin and MKLP1 are all associated with the forming furrow, which in some cases can entirely circumscribe the unfertilized egg. A similar furrow can also be generated by the localized injection of constitutively active RhoA protein, suggesting that Cdk1 is normally an upstream inhibitor of RhoA activation. We show further that this process apparently is not associated with microtubules. Since simple localized inhibition of Cdk1 is sufficient to induce a furrow, we suggest that in real cytokinesis in normal cells, the localized downregulation of Cdk1 activity at the metaphase-anaphase transition may contribute, along with the spindle, to the positioning of the cleavage furrow.

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RO-3306, ≥98% (HPLC)