A unifying new model of cytokinesis for the dividing plant and animal cells

Bioessays. 2007 Apr;29(4):371-81. doi: 10.1002/bies.20559.


Cytokinesis ensures proper partitioning of the nucleocytoplasmic contents into two daughter cells. It has generally been thought that cytokinesis is accomplished differently in animals and plants because of the differences in the preparatory phases, into the centrosomal or acentrosomal nature of the process, the presence or absence of rigid cell walls, and on the basis of 'outside-in' or 'inside-out' mechanism. However, this long-standing paradigm needs further reevaluation based on new findings. Recent advances reveal that plant cells, similarly to animal cells, possess astral microtubules that regulate the cell division plane. Furthermore, endocytosis has been found to be important for cytokinesis in animal and plant cells: vesicles containing endocytosed cargo provide material for the cell plate formation in plants and for closure of the midbody channel in animals. Thus, although the preparatory phases of the cell division process differ between plant and animal cells, the later phases show similarities. We unify these findings in a model that suggests a conserved mode of cytokinesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Biological Transport
  • Cytokinesis / physiology*
  • Endocytosis
  • Models, Biological*
  • Plant Cells*