The role of membrane traffic during cell division has only recently begun to be investigated. A growing number of trafficking proteins seem to be involved in the successful completion of cytokinesis. Clathrin was the first trafficking protein to be shown to be essential for cytokinesis in Dictyostelium. Here we investigate the nature of the cytokinesis defect of Dictyostelium clathrin null cells. We found that adherent clathrin null cells do form cleavage furrows but cannot maintain a consistent rate of furrow ingression. Clathrin null cells are completely defective in cytokinesis when placed in suspension. In these conditions, the cells develop an abnormal division morphology that consists of two lateral "furrows" on either side of a bulging equatorial region. Cells expressing GFP-myosin II were examined at various stages of cytokinesis. Clathrin null cells show multiple defects in myosin organization and localization that parallel the striking failure in furrow morphology. We postulate that this morphology is the result of contraction at the rear of the presumptive daughter cells in concert with incomplete furrow ingression.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.