Centriole movements in mammalian epithelial cells during cytokinesis

BMC Cell Biol. 2010 May 21;11:34. doi: 10.1186/1471-2121-11-34.


Background: In cytokinesis, when the cleavage furrow has been formed, the two centrioles in each daughter cell separate. It has been suggested that the centrioles facilitate and regulate cytokinesis to some extent. It has been postulated that termination of cytokinesis (abscission) depends on the migration of a centriole to the intercellular bridge and then back to the cell center. To investigate the involvement of centrioles in cytokinesis, we monitored the movements of centrioles in three mammalian epithelial cell lines, HeLa, MCF 10A, and the p53-deficient mouse mammary tumor cell line KP-7.7, by time-lapse imaging. Centrin1-EGFP and alpha-Tubulin-mCherry were co-expressed in the cells to visualize respectively the centrioles and microtubules.

Results: Here we report that separated centrioles that migrate from the cell pole are very mobile during cytokinesis and their movements can be characterized as 1) along the nuclear envelope, 2) irregular, and 3) along microtubules forming the spindle axis. Centriole movement towards the intercellular bridge was only seen occasionally and was highly cell-line dependent.

Conclusions: These findings show that centrioles are highly mobile during cytokinesis and suggest that the repositioning of a centriole to the intercellular bridge is not essential for controlling abscission. We suggest that centriole movements are microtubule dependent and that abscission is more dependent on other mechanisms than positioning of centrioles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Centrioles / metabolism*
  • Centrioles / ultrastructure
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • Cytokinesis
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / ultrastructure
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Mice
  • Microscopy
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure
  • Tubulin / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Tubulin
  • caltractin