Cytokinetic abscission is part of the midblastula transition in early zebrafish embryogenesis

Shai Adar-Levor, Dikla Nachmias, Shani T. Gal-Oz, Yarden M. Jahn, Nadine Peyrieras, Assaf Zaritsky, Ramon Y. Birnbaum, Natalie Elia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Animal cytokinesis ends with the formation of a thin intercellular membrane bridge that connects the two newly formed sibling cells, which is ultimately resolved by abscission. While mitosis is completed within 15 min, the intercellular bridge can persist for hours, maintaining a physical connection between sibling cells and allowing exchange of cytosolic components. Although cell-cell communication is fundamental for development, the role of intercellular bridges during embryogenesis has not been fully elucidated. In this work, we characterized the spatiotemporal characteristics of the intercellular bridge during early zebrafish development. We found that abscission is delayed during the rapid division cycles that occur in the early embryo, giving rise to the formation of interconnected cell clusters. Abscission was accelerated when the embryo entered the midblastula transition (MBT) phase. Components of the ESCRT machinery, which drives abscission, were enriched at intercellular bridges post-MBT and, interfering with ESCRT function, extended abscission beyond MBT. Hallmark features of MBT, including transcription onset and cell shape modulations, were more similar in interconnected sibling cells compared to other neighboring cells. Collectively, our findings suggest that delayed abscission in the early embryo allows clusters of cells to coordinate their behavior during embryonic development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021210118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
StatePublished - 13 Apr 2021


  • Abscission
  • Cell division
  • Development
  • MBT
  • Microtubules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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