The isotropic metaphase actin cortex progressively polarizes as the anaphase spindle elongates during mitotic exit. This involves the loss of actomyosin cortex from opposing cell poles and the accumulation of an actomyosin belt at the cell centre. Although these spatially distinct cortical remodelling events are coordinated in time, here we show that they are independent of each other. Thus, actomyosin is lost from opposing poles in anaphase cells that lack an actomyosin ring owing to centralspindlin depletion. In examining potential regulators of this process, we identify a role for Aurora B kinase in actin clearance at cell poles. Upon combining Aurora B inhibition with centralspindlin depletion, cells exiting mitosis fail to change shape and remain completely spherical. Additionally, we demonstrate a requirement for Aurora B in the clearance of cortical actin close to anaphase chromatin in cells exiting mitosis with a bipolar spindle and in monopolar cells forced to divide while flat. Altogether, these data suggest a novel role for Aurora B activity in facilitating DNA-mediated polar relaxation at anaphase, polarization of the actomyosin cortex, and cell division.
Keywords: Aurora B; actomyosin network; cell polarization; cytokinesis; polar relaxation.
© 2021 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.