Induction of cytokinesis is independent of precisely regulated microtubule dynamics. Academic Article uri icon


  • Astral microtubules (MTs) emanating from the mitotic apparatus (MA) during anaphase are required for stimulation of cytokinesis in eggs. We have used green fluorescent protein-labeled EB1 to observe MT dynamics during mitosis and cytokinesis in normal sea urchin eggs. Analysis of astral MT growth rates during anaphase shows that MTs contact the polar cortex earlier than the equatorial cortex after anaphase onset but that a normal cleavage furrow is not induced until contact with MTs has been achieved throughout the cortex. To assess the role of MT dynamics in initiation of cytokinesis, we used a collection of small molecule drugs to affect dynamics. Hexylene glycol resulted in rapid astral elongation due to decreased MT catastrophe and precocious furrowing. Taxol suppressed MT dynamics but did not inhibit furrow induction when the MA was manipulated toward the cortex. Urethane resulted in short, highly dynamic astral MTs with increased catastrophe that also stimulated furrowing upon being brought into proximity to the cortex. Our findings indicate that astral MT contact with the cortex is necessary for furrow initiation but that the dynamic state of astral MTs does not affect their competency to stimulate furrowing.

publication date

  • October 2005