Rap1-dependent pathways coordinate cytokinesis in Dictyostelium

Plak K., Keizer-Gunnink I., van Haastert P. J. M. , Kortholt A.

MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL, vol.25, no.25, pp.4195-4204, 2014 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 25 Issue: 25
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1091/mbc.e14-08-1285
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.4195-4204


Cytokinesis is the final step of mitosis when a mother cell is separated into two daughter cells. Major cytoskeletal changes are essential for cytokinesis; it is, however, not well understood how the microtubules and actomyosin cytoskeleton are exactly regulated in time and space. In this paper, we show that during the early stages of cytokinesis, in rounded-up Dictyostelium discoideum cells, the small G-protein Rap1 is activated uniformly at the cell cortex. When cells begin to elongate, active Rap1 becomes restricted from the furrow region, where the myosin contractile ring is subsequently formed. In the final stages of cytokinesis, active Rap1 is only present at the cell poles. Mutant cells with decreased Rap1 activation at the poles showed strongly decreased growth rates. Hyperactivation of Rap1 results in severe growth delays and defective spindle formation in adherent cells and cell death in suspension. Furthermore, Rap mutants show aberrant regulation of the actomyosin cytoskeleton, resulting in extended furrow ingression times and asymmetrical cell division. We propose that Rap1 drives cytokinesis progression by coordinating the three major cytoskeletal components: microtubules, actin, and myosin II. Importantly, mutated forms of Rap also affect cytokinesis in other organisms, suggesting a conserved role for Rap in cell division.