Activator-inhibitor coupling between Rho signalling and actin assembly makes the cell cortex an excitable medium

William M Bement, Marcin Leda, Alison M Moe, Angela M Kita, Matthew E Larson, Adriana E Golding, Courtney Pfeuti, Kuan-Chung Su, Ann L Miller, Andrew B Goryachev, George von Dassow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Animal cell cytokinesis results from patterned activation of the small GTPase Rho, which directs assembly of actomyosin in the equatorial cortex. Cytokinesis is restricted to a portion of the cell cycle following anaphase onset in which the cortex is responsive to signals from the spindle. We show that shortly after anaphase onset oocytes and embryonic cells of frogs and echinoderms exhibit cortical waves of Rho activity and F-actin polymerization. The waves are modulated by cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (Cdk1) activity and require the Rho GEF (guanine nucleotide exchange factor), Ect2. Surprisingly, during wave propagation, although Rho activity elicits F-actin assembly, F-actin subsequently inactivates Rho. Experimental and modelling results show that waves represent excitable dynamics of a reaction-diffusion system with Rho as the activator and F-actin the inhibitor. We propose that cortical excitability explains fundamental features of cytokinesis including its cell cycle regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1471-1483
Number of pages13
JournalNature Cell Biology
Volume17
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2015

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Activator-inhibitor coupling between Rho signalling and actin assembly makes the cell cortex an excitable medium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this