The events leading to the completion of cytokinesis after the formation of the midbody and intercellular bridge in D-98S cells were studied with light and electron microscopy. Pairs of daughter cells corresponding to different stages of cytokineses, as determined previously form time lapse films, were selected from embedded monolayers for serial sectioning. Separation of daughter cells is preceded by the reduction in diameter of the intercellular bridge from 1-1.5 μm to approx. 0.2 μm. Two processes contribute to this reduction: (a) The intercellular bridge becomes gradually thinner after telophase; a progressive breakdown of midbody structures accompanies this change; and (b) the more significant contribution to reduction in bridge diameter occurs through the localized constriction of a segment of the intercellular bridge.. The microtubules within the constricted portion of the bridge are forced closer together, and some microtubules disappear as this narrowing progresses. The plasma membrane over the narrowed segments is thrown into a series of wavelike ripples. Separation of daughter cells is achieved through movements of the cells which stretch and break the diameter-reduced bridge. The midbody is discarded after separation and begins to deteriorate. Occasional pairs of daughter cells were found in which incomplete karyokineses resulted in their nuclei being connected by a strand of nuclear material traversing the bridge and midbody. Such cells do not complete cytokinesis but merge together several hours after telophase. This merging of daughter cells coincides with the nearly complete breakdown of the midbody.

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