Mechanisms of cytokinesis: A study in plants and animals
In eukaryotic cells cytokinesis is the critical final step of mitosis that results in partitioning of cytoplasmic contents to two daughter cells. In yeast and animals, cytokinesis occurs through the formation of a cleavage furrow that eventually separates the two daughter cells upon fusion of the resulting invaginated plasma membranes. In higher plants, however, cytokinesis is accomplished through the de novo formation of a novel membrane-bounded compartment, the phragmoplast, which forms through homotypic fusion of specialized secretory vesicles containing newly synthesized cell wall cargo. Growth of this structure occurs through continued secretion until its eventual fusion to the plasma membrane, resulting in separation of the two daughter cells. The aims of this research project are to investigate molecular mechanisms that control these two cytokinetic processes to identify to what extent their regulation are conserved or distinct.