Multiple Mechanisms for Accumulation of Myosin II Filaments at the Equator During Cytokinesis

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Abstract

Total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy revealed how individual bipolar myosin II filaments accumulate at the equatorial region in dividing Dictyostelium cells. Direct observation of individual filaments in live cells provided us with much convincing information. Myosin II filaments accumulated at the equatorial region by at least two independent mechanisms: (i) cortical flow, which is driven by myosin II motor activities and (ii) de novo association to the equatorial cortex. These two mechanisms were mutually redundant. At the same time, myosin II filaments underwent rapid turnover, repeating their association and dissociation with the actin cortex. Examination of the lifetime of mutant myosin filaments in the cortex revealed that the turnover mainly depended on heavy chain phosphorylation and that myosin motor activity accelerated the turnover. Double mutant myosin II deficient in both motor and phosphorylation still accumulated at the equatorial region, although they displayed no cortical flow and considerably slow turnover. Under this condition, the filaments stayed for a significantly longer time at the equatorial region than at the polar regions, indicating that there are still other mechanisms for myosin II accumulation such as binding partners or stabilizing activity of filaments in the equatorial cortex.

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