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Cell surface changes during mitosis and cytokinesis of epithelial cells

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PtK2 cells were studied with scanning electron microscopy to record changes on the cell surface during mitosis and cytokinesis. During prophase, prometaphase and metaphase, the cells remain very flat with few microvilli on their surfaces. In anaphase cells, there is a marked increase in the number of microvilli, most of which are clumped over the separating chromosomes and polar regions of the mitotic spindle leaving the surface of the interzonal spindle region relatively smooth. Microvilli appear over the interzonal spindle region in telophase and the cells also increase in height. At the beginning of cleavage, the distribution of microvilli is roughly uniform over the surface but it becomes asymmetric at the completion of cleav-age when the daughter cells begin to spread. At this time most microvilli are over the daughter nuclei and the surfaces that border the former cleavage furrow. The regions of the daughter cells distal to the furrow are the first to spread and their surfaces have very few microvilli. When chromosome movement is inhibited by either Nocodazole or Taxol, microvilli formation is inhibited on the arrested cells. Nevertheless cell rounding still takes place in the normal time period. It is concluded from these observations that the signal for the onset of chromosome movement in anaphase is accompanied by a signal for the formation of microvilli. It is suggested that there is also a separate signal for the cell-rounding event in mitosis and that microvilli do not play a role in this contractile process.

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Correspondence to Dr. Jean M. Sanger.

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Sanger, J.M., Reingold, A.M. & Sanger, J.W. Cell surface changes during mitosis and cytokinesis of epithelial cells. Cell Tissue Res. 237, 409–417 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00228425

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Key words

  • Mitosis
  • Cytokinesis
  • Microvilli
  • Scanning electron microscopy
  • Cell surface