PerspectiveCell Biology

An ESCRT to seal the envelope

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Science  19 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6241, pp. 1314-1315
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac7083

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Metazoan cells divide by “open” mitosis, in which disassembly of the nucleus allows microtubules of the mitotic spindle to access kinetochores, proteinaceous structures that associate with specialized regions of chromosomes called centromeres. Duplicated chromosomes align on the spindle, and as they segregate toward opposite ends of the dividing cell, nuclear membrane reassembly initiates (1). This requires recruiting membrane, reconstituting nuclear pores, and severing microtubule connections between chromosomes and the spindle organizing centers (centrosomes). The nuclear envelope must seal to reestablish proper separation of the genome from the cytoplasm, but just how the nuclear membrane closes and overcomes the physical roadblocks presented by spindle microtubules has been unclear. Recent studies (2, 3) now demonstrate that the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) membrane fission machinery orchestrates this mysterious process.