Actin dynamics in the contractile ring during cytokinesis in fission yeast. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cytokinesis in many eukaryotes requires a contractile ring of actin and myosin that cleaves the cell in two. Little is known about how actin filaments and other components assemble into this ring structure and generate force. Here we show that the contractile ring in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe is an active site of actin assembly. This actin polymerization activity requires Arp3, the formin Cdc12, profilin and WASP, but not myosin II or IQGAP proteins. Both newly polymerized actin filaments and pre-existing actin cables can contribute to the initial assembly of the ring. Once formed, the ring remains a dynamic structure in which actin and other ring components continuously assemble and disassemble from the ring every minute. The rate of actin polymerization can influence the rate of cleavage. Thus, actin polymerization driven by the Arp2/3 complex and formins is a central process in cytokinesis. Our studies show that cytokinesis is a more dynamic process than previously thought and provide a perspective on the mechanism of cell division.

publication date

  • September 5, 2002