Dictyostelium discoideum is a unique experimental organism which allows genetic analysis of the mechanism of cytokinesis of the animal type, and a number of mutations which affect cytokinesis in one way or other have been identified. Myosin II filaments accumulate in the equatorial region, and myosin II-null cells cannot divide in suspension, indicating that active, myosin II-dependent constriction of the cleavage furrow contributes to bisection of the cell. We refer to this method of cytokinesis as cytokinesis A. On substrates, however, myosin II-null cells divide efficiently in a cell cycle-coupled manner. This adhesion-dependent but myosin II-independent division method, which we termed cytokinesis B, is carried out by a pathway that is genetically distinct from that of cytokinesis A. Morphological analyses suggested that cytokinesis B is driven by radial traction forces generated along polar peripheries, which indirectly cause furrow ingression. Identification of two redundant pathways have allowed us to search genes involved in either pathway by mutagenizing cells which are already defective in one of the pathways. This approach enabled us to identify a number of novel cytokinesis-related genes, as well as to reclassify known genes as cytokinesis-related.
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