Cell Biology

Cleaning House

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Science  06 Feb 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5915, pp. 688
DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5915.688b

In preparation for cell division, proliferating cells assemble protein complexes to ensure the faithful duplication of cellular components; equally important are the disassembly and disposal of these structures afterward. Many proteins are hydrolyzed in the cytosol by the proteasome, but others are digested within lysosomes. During the last moments of cell division, the two daughter cells remain joined by a bridge known as the midbody channel, which contains the midbody and a large structure known as the midbody ring. As the two daughter cells separate, the midbody ring moves into one of the daughters, whence it eventually disappears. Pohl and Jentsch find that the midbody ring is cleared away via autophagy—a lysosome-based degradatory pathway that recycles cellular organelles during starvation. The authors showed that autophagy accessory factors associate with the midbody ring during abscission, suggesting that the two processes may be coupled. Rings (shown at left, green) accumulated when lysosomal function was inhibited and also in cells of patients with lysosomal storage disorders. — HP*

Nat. Cell Biol. 11, 65 (2009).

  • *Helen Pickersgill is a locum editor in Science's editorial department.

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