Variations on a theme: the many modes of cytokinesis

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2004 Feb;16(1):55-60. doi: 10.1016/


Animal cell division is believed to be mediated primarily by the 'purse-string' mechanism, which entails furrowing of the equatorial region, driven by the interaction of actin and myosin II filaments within contractile rings. However, myosin II-null Dictyostelium cells on substrates divide efficiently in a cell cycle-coupled manner. This process, termed cytokinesis B, appears to be driven by polar traction forces. Data in the literature can be interpreted as suggesting that adherent higher animal cells also use a cytokinesis B-like mechanism for cytokinesis. An additional chemotaxis-based cytokinesis that involves a 'midwife' cell has also been reported. Collectively, these findings demonstrate an unexpected diversity of mechanisms by which animal cells carry out cytokinesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Cell Movement
  • Dictyostelium / cytology
  • Dictyostelium / genetics
  • Nonmuscle Myosin Type IIB / physiology


  • Nonmuscle Myosin Type IIB