Abstract: Cytokinesis is the physical division of one cell into two daughter cells. Observed since the first microscopes focused on cells, the process of cell division continues to fascinate and inspire cell biologists with its intricacy and precision. Although the failure of this process is most often lethal to cells, mounting evidence indicates that cytokinetic failure in some cell types contributes to tumorigenesis through formation of tetraploid intermediates that escape cell death.
Yet, a thorough understanding of cytokinesis has not been achieved in any organism. Over the last two decades we, and others, have championed the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a powerful model organism for learning how cell division can be achieved, and how it can be coordinated so precisely with chromosome segregation. This seminar will present our efforts to understand how the many parts of cytokinetic machinery are assembled into a functional unit and to discover how a checkpoint pathway fine-tunes the timing of actomyosin ring assembly to safeguard genomic integrity.