Contractile ring constriction during cytokinesis is thought to compact central spindle microtubules to form the midbody, an antiparallel microtubule bundle at the intercellular bridge. In Caenorhabditis elegans, central spindle microtubule assembly requires targeting of the CLASP family protein CLS-2 to the kinetochores in metaphase and spindle midzone in anaphase. CLS-2 targeting is mediated by the CENP-F–like HCP-1/2, but their roles in cytokinesis and midbody assembly are not known. We found that although HCP-1 and HCP-2 mostly function cooperatively, HCP-1 plays a more primary role in promoting CLS-2–dependent central spindle microtubule assembly. HCP-1/2 codisrupted embryos did not form central spindles but completed cytokinesis and formed functional midbodies capable of supporting abscission. These central spindle–independent midbodies appeared to form via contractile ring constriction–driven bundling of astral microtubules at the furrow tip. This work suggests that, in the absence of a central spindle, astral microtubules can support midbody assembly and that midbody assembly is more predictive of successful cytokinesis than central spindle assembly.

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