Midbody (cell biology)

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The midbody is a transient structure found in mammalian cells and is present near the end of cytokinesis just prior to the complete separation of the dividing cells. The structure was first described by Walther Flemming in 1891.[1] The central section of a midbody was named after Flemming and is called the Flemming body.

A middle stage midbody stained with tubulin

The midbody structure contains bundles of microtubules derived from the mitotic spindle which compacts during the final stages of cell division. It has a typical diameter of 1 micrometre and a length of 3 to 5 micrometres.[2] Aside from microtubules it also contains various proteins involved in cytokinesis, asymmetric cell division, and chromosome segregation. The midbody is important for completing the final stages of cytokinesis, a process called abscission, although its precise role in these processes is not clear.[3]


  1. ^ Paweletz N (January 2001). "Walther Flemming: pioneer of mitosis research". Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 2 (1): 72–5. doi:10.1038/35048077. PMID 11413469.
  2. ^ Mullins JM, McIntosh JR (September 1982). "Isolation and initial characterization of the mammalian midbody". J. Cell Biol. 94 (3): 654–61. doi:10.1083/jcb.94.3.654. PMC 2112229. PMID 7130277.
  3. ^ Skop AR, Liu H, Yates J, Meye BJ, Heald R (July 2004). "Dissection of the mammalian midbody proteome reveals conserved cytokinesis mechanisms". Science. 305 (5680): 61–6. doi:10.1126/science.1097931. PMC 3679889. PMID 15166316.