Klerokinesis in action
Cytokinesis is the final step of cell division in which the cytoplasm and its contents are split (and is necessary for the proper assortment of chromosomes). Cytoplasm comprises of cytosol (the gel-like substance enclosed within the cell membrane) and the organelles (the cell's internal sub-structures).
Cell biologists have long thought that if cytokinesis fails, aneuploidy (i.e. the number of chromosomes in the cell nucleus is not an exact multiple of the species' monoploid number) would result, possibly causing cancer.
A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison have recently discovered a type of cell division, called ‘klerokinesis’, that protects cells from failed cytokinesis.
The researchers watched retinal pigment epithelial cells that had chemically inhibited cytokinesis, for five days by using live-cell imaging. Many of the cells managed to split in two during the first growth phase of the next cell cycle, not during mitosis, allowing each to recover a normal chromosome set.
In the future, it might be possible to use therapeutic strategies that boost this type of non-mitotic cell fission, to prevent cancer in people at high risk of developing tumours due to abnormal chromosomal counts.