Cytokinesis and the contractile ring in fission yeast: towards a systems-level understanding

Trends Microbiol. 2010 Jan;18(1):38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2009.10.002. Epub 2009 Dec 1.


Cytokinesis, the final stage of the cell division cycle, requires the proper placement, assembly and contraction of an actomyosin-based contractile ring. Conserved sets of cytokinesis proteins and pathways have now been identified and characterized functionally. Additionally, fluorescent protein fusion technology enables quantitative high-resolution imaging of protein dynamics in living cells. For these reasons, the study of cytokinesis is now ripe for quantitative, systems-level approaches. Here, we review our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms of contractile ring dynamics in the model organism Schizosaccharomyces pombe (fission yeast), focusing on recent examples that illustrate a synergistic integration of quantitative experimental data with computational modeling. A picture of a highly dynamic and integrated system consisting of overlapping networks is beginning to emerge, the detailed nature of which remains to be elucidated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / chemistry
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Actins / ultrastructure
  • Contractile Proteins / chemistry
  • Contractile Proteins / metabolism*
  • Contractile Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Cytokinesis*
  • Fungal Proteins / chemistry
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fungal Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Schizosaccharomyces / physiology*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence


  • Actins
  • Contractile Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins