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Pulling Together: Mitotic ring self-assembly revealed

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12:55pm, December 12, 2007

During cell division, a ring of proteins forms around a cell's "equator" and then contracts to pinch the cell in half. These proteins arrange themselves into an orderly ring by a random process of searching, grabbing, and pulling each other, scientists have discovered.

Finding this ring-forming mechanism answers a basic question of cell biology from the 1970s, when researchers learned that the ring of proteins contains actin and myosin, the same molecules that generate contractions in muscle cells.

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