At What Point In Mitosis Does A Cleavage Furrow Form?

**At what point in mitosis does a cleavage furrow form?**

During the process of cell division known as mitosis, a cleavage furrow forms towards the end of the process in a stage called cytokinesis. Cytokinesis is the final stage of cell division when the cytoplasm of the parent cell divides into two daughter cells. The cleavage furrow is a contractile ring that forms around the equator of the cell and eventually pinches off to separate the two daughter cells.

The Stages of Mitosis

Before diving deeper into the formation of the cleavage furrow, it is important to understand the stages of mitosis. Mitosis consists of four main phases: prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase. Each phase has distinct characteristics and plays a crucial role in the proper division of the genetic material and cytoplasm.


During prophase, the chromatin in the nucleus condenses and becomes visible as chromosomes. The nuclear envelope starts to break down, and centrosomes move towards opposite poles of the cell. Spindle fibers, composed of microtubules, begin to form and extend from the centrosomes towards the center of the cell.


In metaphase, the chromosomes align along the equatorial plane of the cell, known as the metaphase plate. The spindle fibers attach to the centromere region of each chromosome. This alignment ensures that each daughter cell will receive the correct number of chromosomes during division.


During anaphase, the sister chromatids of each chromosome separate and move towards opposite poles of the cell. The spindle fibers shorten, pulling the chromatids apart. By the end of anaphase, each pole of the cell has a complete set of chromosomes.


In telophase, the chromosomes arrive at the opposite poles of the cell. A new nuclear envelope forms around each cluster of chromosomes, and the chromosomes begin to unwind and return to their condensed chromatin form. Meanwhile, the spindle apparatus disassembles, preparing for the final stage of cell division.

The Formation of the Cleavage Furrow

After the completion of telophase, the cell enters cytokinesis, the final stage of mitosis. It is during cytokinesis that the cleavage furrow forms. The cleavage furrow is a shallow groove that appears around the equator of the cell. It is composed of a contractile ring made up of actin and myosin filaments.

The formation of the cleavage furrow is initiated by the contraction of the contractile ring. The contraction is driven by the interaction between actin and myosin filaments. As the filaments slide past each other, they cause the cleavage furrow to deepen. Eventually, the furrow reaches the center of the cell, completely dividing it into two daughter cells.

The timing of cleavage furrow formation varies depending on the organism and cell type. In animal cells, the furrow usually forms near the end of telophase, when the chromosomes have already reached the opposite poles of the cell. In contrast, plant cells, which have a rigid cell wall, undergo a different process called cell plate formation, instead of forming a cleavage furrow.


Q: What is the purpose of the cleavage furrow?

The cleavage furrow plays a crucial role in cytokinesis by physically separating the cytoplasm of the parent cell into two daughter cells. It ensures that each daughter cell has an equal and complete set of genetic material and other cellular components.

Q: What is the difference between cytokinesis and mitosis?

Mitosis refers to the division of the genetic material in the nucleus of a cell, whereas cytokinesis is the division of the cytoplasm to form two separate daughter cells. Both processes work together to ensure proper cell division and the formation of new cells.

Q: Can the cleavage furrow fail to form?

In some cases, the cleavage furrow may fail to form, leading to cellular abnormalities and potential cell death. This can happen due to various factors, such as genetic mutations, disruptions in the cytoskeleton, or issues with the contractile ring components.

Final Thoughts

The formation of the cleavage furrow during cytokinesis is a fascinating process that ensures proper cell division. Through the coordinated action of actin and myosin filaments, the equatorial region of the cell is gradually constricted, leading to the formation of two separate daughter cells. Understanding the timing and mechanisms of cleavage furrow formation contributes to our overall knowledge of cell biology and can have implications in fields such as developmental biology and disease research.

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