During anaphase, a microtubule-containing structure called the midzone forms between the segregating chromosomes. The midzone is composed of an antiparallel array of microtubules and numerous microtubule-associated proteins that contribute to midzone formation and function. In many cells, the midzone is an important source of signals that specify the location of contractile ring assembly and constriction. The midzone also contributes to the events of anaphase by generating forces that impact chromosome segregation and spindle elongation; some midzone components contribute to both processes. The results of recent experiments have increased our understanding of the importance of the midzone, a microtubule array that has often been overlooked. This Journal of Cell Science at a Glance article will review, and illustrate on the accompanying poster, the organization, formation and dynamics of the midzone, and discuss open questions for future research.

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