PerspectiveCell Biology

ESCRTing DNA at the Cleavage Site During Cytokinesis

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Science  13 Apr 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6078, pp. 166-167
DOI: 10.1126/science.1221832

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Collisions are only good business for insurance companies. During cell division, collisions between separating chromosomes and the cytokinetic apparatus, which physically divides the two daughter cells, must be avoided to prevent catastrophic consequences for genome stability (1). Cytokinesis follows the separation of sister genomes, which are pulled to opposite cell poles, and involves splitting the cytoplasm by the ingression of a cleavage furrow followed by a terminal membrane fission event called abscission (2). Recent work has identified a monitoring system that prevents cell separation while chromatin lingers in the division plane (3, 4). At the heart of it lies a conserved protein kinase, Aurora B. On page 220 in this issue, Carlton et al. identify CHMP4C, a subunit of the ESCRT-III (endosomal sorting complex required for transport) complex, as a key target of Aurora B that delays abscission and prevents DNA damage if chromatin bridges persist in human cells (5).