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Centriole movements in mammalian epithelial cells during cytokinesis

Asta Björk Jonsdottir12*, Roeland W Dirks2, Johannes Vrolijk2, Helga M Ögmundsdottir1, Hans J Tanke2, Jorunn E Eyfjörd1 and Karoly Szuhai2

Author affiliations

1 Cancer Research Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Vatnsmyrarvegi 16, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland

2 Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Leiden University Medical Center, Einthovenweg 20, 2300 RC Leiden, the Netherlands

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Citation and License

BMC Cell Biology 2010, 11:34  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-11-34

Published: 21 May 2010



In cytokinesis, when the cleavage furrow has been formed, the two centrioles in each daughter cell separate. It has been suggested that the centrioles facilitate and regulate cytokinesis to some extent. It has been postulated that termination of cytokinesis (abscission) depends on the migration of a centriole to the intercellular bridge and then back to the cell center. To investigate the involvement of centrioles in cytokinesis, we monitored the movements of centrioles in three mammalian epithelial cell lines, HeLa, MCF 10A, and the p53-deficient mouse mammary tumor cell line KP-7.7, by time-lapse imaging. Centrin1-EGFP and α-Tubulin-mCherry were co-expressed in the cells to visualize respectively the centrioles and microtubules.


Here we report that separated centrioles that migrate from the cell pole are very mobile during cytokinesis and their movements can be characterized as 1) along the nuclear envelope, 2) irregular, and 3) along microtubules forming the spindle axis. Centriole movement towards the intercellular bridge was only seen occasionally and was highly cell-line dependent.


These findings show that centrioles are highly mobile during cytokinesis and suggest that the repositioning of a centriole to the intercellular bridge is not essential for controlling abscission. We suggest that centriole movements are microtubule dependent and that abscission is more dependent on other mechanisms than positioning of centrioles.