Two phases of astral microtubule activity during cytokinesis in C. elegans embryos

Fumio Motegi, Nathalie V. Velarde, Fabio Piano, Asako Sugimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microtubules of the mitotic spindle are believed to provide positional cues for the assembly of the actin-based contractile ring and the formation of the subsequent cleavage furrow during cytokinesis. In Caenorhabditis elegans, astral microtubules have been thought to inhibit cortical contraction outside the cleavage furrow. Here, we demonstrate by live imaging and RNA interference (RNAi) that astral microtubules play two distinct roles in initiating cleavage furrow formation. In early anaphase, microtubules are required for contractile ring assembly; in late anaphase, microtubules show different cortical behavior and seem to suppress cortical contraction at the poles, as suggested in previous studies. These two distinct phases of microtubule behavior depend on distinct regulatory pathways, one involving the γ-tubulin complex and the other requiring aurora-A kinase. We propose that temporal and spatial regulation of two distinct phases of astral microtubule behavior is crucial in specifying the position and timing of furrowing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-520
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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