Cytokinesis is the essential process that partitions cellular contents into daughter cells. To identify and characterize cytokinesis proteins rapidly, we used a functional proteomic and comparative genomic strategy. Midbodies were isolated from mammalian cells, proteins were identified by multidimensional protein identification technology (MudPIT), and protein function was assessed in Caenorhabditis elegans. Of 172 homologs disrupted by RNA interference, 58% displayed defects in cleavage furrow formation or completion, or germline cytokinesis. Functional dissection of the midbody demonstrated the importance of lipid rafts and vesicle trafficking pathways in cytokinesis, and the utilization of common membrane cytoskeletal components in diverse morphogenetic events in the cleavage furrow, the germline, and neurons.
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