Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Journal of cell science
Cytokinesis is the fundamental and ancient cellular process by which one cell physically divides into two. Cytokinesis in animal and fungal cells is achieved by contraction of an actomyosin cytoskeletal ring assembled in the cell cortex, typically at the cell equator. Cytokinesis is essential for the development of fertilized eggs into multicellular organisms and for homeostatic replenishment of cells. Correct execution of cytokinesis is also necessary for genome stability and the evasion of diseases including cancer. Cytokinesis has fascinated scientists for well over a century, but its speed and dynamics make experiments challenging to perform and interpret. The presence of redundant mechanisms is also a challenge to understand cytokinesis, leaving many fundamental questions unresolved. For example, how does a disordered cytoskeletal network transform into a coherent ring? What are the long-distance effects of localized contractility? Here, we provide a general introduction to 'modeling for biologists', and review how agent-based modeling and continuum mechanics modeling have helped to address these questions. © 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.