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Hayashi H.,Graduate University for Advanced Studies | Hayashi H.,National Institute of Genetics | Hayashi H.,Transdiciplinary Research Integration Center | Hayashi H.,RIKEN | And 4 more authors.
Molecular Biology of the Cell

The assembly of microtubules inside the cell is controlled both spatially and temporally. During mitosis, microtubule assembly must be activated locally at the nascent spindle region for mitotic spindle assembly to occur efficiently. In this paper, we report that mitotic spindle components, such as free tubulin subunits, accumulated in the nascent spindle region, independent of spindle formation in the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo. This accumulation coincided with nuclear envelope permeabilization, suggesting that permeabilization might trigger the accumulation. When permeabilization was induced earlier by knockdown of lamin, tubulin also accumulated earlier. The boundaries of the region of accumulation coincided with the remnant nuclear envelope, which remains after nuclear envelope breakdown in cells that undergo semi-open mitosis, such as those of C. elegans. Ran, a small GTPase protein, was required for tubulin accumulation. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis revealed that the accumulation was accompanied by an increase in the immobile fraction of free tubulin inside the remnant nuclear envelope. We propose that this newly identified mechanism of accumulation of free tubulin - and probably of other molecules - at the nascent spindle region contributes to efficient assembly of the mitotic spindle in the C. elegans embryo. © 2012 Hayashi et al. Source

Koyama H.,National Institute of Genetics | Koyama H.,Transdiciplinary Research Integration Center | Koyama H.,Japan National Institute for Basic Biology | Umeda T.,Kobe University | And 5 more authors.

Different models for animal cell cytokinesis posit that the stiffness of the equatorial cortex is either increased or decreased relative to the stiffness of the polar cortex. A recent work has suggested that the critical cytokinesis signaling complex centralspindlin may reduce the stiffness of the equatorial cortex by inactivating the small GTPase Rac. To determine if such a reduction occurs and if it depends on centralspindlin, we devised a method to estimate cortical bending stiffness with high spatio-temporal resolution from in vivo cell shapes. Using the early Caenorhabditis elegans embryo as a model, we show that the stiffness of the equatorial cell surface is reduced during cytokinesis, whereas the stiffness of the polar cell surface remains stiff. The equatorial reduction of stiffness was compromised in cells with a mutation in the gene encoding the ZEN-4/kinesin-6 subunit of centralspindlin. Theoretical modeling showed that the absence of the equatorial reduction of stiffness could explain the arrest of furrow ingression in the mutant. By contrast, the equatorial reduction of stiffness was sufficient to generate a cleavage furrow even without the constriction force of the contractile ring. In this regime, the contractile ring had a supportive contribution to furrow ingression. We conclude that stiffness is reduced around the equator in a centralspindlin-dependent manner. In addition, computational modeling suggests that proper regulation of stiffness could be sufficient for cleavage furrow ingression. © 2012 Koyama et al. Source

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