Research Summary

Molecular understanding of the process of cytokinesis

Cytokinesis is the final step of cell division, through which the cellular constituents of the mother cell are partitioned into two daughter cells, resulting in an increase in cell number. In many eukaryotes from yeast to humans, cytokinesis is achieved through the regulated assembly and subsequent contraction of an actomyosin based contractile ring (CR), which leads to constriction of the plasma membrane at the division plane. CR is a complex macromolecular machine, which is composed of more than 150 different proteins. How these components are assembled together to form the contractile "machines" that operate with high efficiency and fidelity is one of the important questions in cell biology. We would investigate key issue pertaining to CR organization and contraction in fission yeast by using the methods of genetics, biochemistry, in vitro reconstitution, cellular imaging and electron cryotomography (ECT) to investigate the role of key cytokinetic proteins during the process of CR contraction and to generate a high-resolution ultra-structure of the CR. The results from these studies should provide major insight into the process of cell division.

Figure Legend: Contractile ring contraction in vitro: The images of the same ring captured every 20 seconds were merged in rainbow colors. Blue indicates the time of ATP addition. Rings of fission yeast cell ghosts were visualized by Rlc1(myosin light chain)-3xGFP.