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The contractile ring coordinates curvature-dependent septum assembly during fission yeast cytokinesis.

Abstract

The functions of the actin-myosin-based contractile ring in cytokinesis remain to be elucidated. Recent findings show that in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, cleavage furrow ingression is driven by polymerization of cell wall fibers outside the plasma membrane, not by the contractile ring. Here we show that one function of the ring is to spatially coordinate septum cell wall assembly. We develop an improved method for live-cell imaging of the division apparatus by orienting the rod-shaped cells vertically using microfabricated wells. We observe that the septum hole and ring are circular and centered in wild-type cells and that in the absence of a functional ring, the septum continues to ingress but in a disorganized and asymmetric manner. By manipulating the cleavage furrow into different shapes, we show that the ring promotes local septum growth in a curvature-dependent manner, allowing even a misshapen septum to grow into a more regular shape. This curvature-dependent growth suggests a model in which contractile forces of the ring shape the septum cell wall by stimulating the cell wall machinery in a mechanosensitive manner. Mechanical regulation of the cell wall assembly may have general relevance to the morphogenesis of walled cells.

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