When Does Cleavage Furrow Form

**When Does Cleavage Furrow Form?**

Cleavage furrow is the indentation that appears on the surface of a cell during cytokinesis, the process where a parent cell divides into two daughter cells. It is a crucial step in cell division and plays a significant role in the formation of new organisms during reproduction. But when exactly does cleavage furrow form? In this article, we will explore the timing and mechanism behind the formation of the cleavage furrow.

The process of cell division consists of several stages, including interphase, prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase, and cytokinesis. It is during cytokinesis that the cleavage furrow forms. Let’s dive deeper into each stage and understand how the cleavage furrow comes into play.

The Stages of Cell Division:


The cell undergoes growth and prepares for division. During this stage, the DNA is replicated, and the cell accumulates the necessary resources for division.


The chromatin, which is loosely packed DNA, condenses into visible chromosomes. The nuclear membrane also starts to disassemble, and the centrosomes move to opposite ends of the cell.


The spindle apparatus, composed of microtubules, forms between the two centrosomes. The chromosomes line up along the equator of the cell, connected to the spindle fibers.


The spindle fibers shorten and pull the sister chromatids of each chromosome towards opposite poles of the cell.


The chromosomes reach the poles of the cell and start to decondense. The nuclear envelope reforms around each set of chromosomes, creating two nuclei.


Cytokinesis occurs concurrently with telophase and involves the physical division of the cytoplasm. During this stage, the cleavage furrow forms, segregating the cell contents between the two daughter cells.

The Mechanism of Cleavage Furrow Formation:

The formation of the cleavage furrow is influenced by the contractile ring, a structure composed of actin and myosin filaments. The contractile ring assembles at the site of the equatorial plane, corresponding to the position of the metaphase plate during mitosis.

Once the chromosomes have reached the poles during anaphase, the contractile ring begins to constrict. The contraction is facilitated by the interaction between actin and myosin, the same proteins responsible for muscle contraction.

As the contractile ring contracts, it pulls the plasma membrane inward, creating a groove that deepens into a furrow. The furrow gradually extends towards the center of the cell, eventually pinching off and separating the two daughter cells.

The cleavage furrow formation is a dynamic process that involves the coordination of various proteins and molecular signals. Microtubules, motor proteins, and other cytoskeletal elements also contribute to the proper formation and positioning of the contractile ring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What triggers the formation of the cleavage furrow?

A: The formation of the cleavage furrow is triggered by the completion of chromosome segregation during anaphase. As the chromosomes reach the poles, molecular signals initiate the assembly of the contractile ring at the equator of the cell.

Q: How does the contractile ring know where to form?

A: The position of the contractile ring is determined by the presence of the metaphase plate, where the chromosomes align during metaphase. The molecular signals from the segregating chromosomes contribute to the localization of the contractile ring at the equatorial plane of the cell.

Q: Are there any variations in cleavage furrow formation among different organisms?

A: Yes, there are variations in cleavage furrow formation across different organisms. For example, in some organisms, such as plants, a cell plate forms instead of a cleavage furrow, leading to the division of the cytoplasm. These variations reflect the diverse mechanisms that have evolved to accomplish cytokinesis.

Q: Can the cleavage furrow formation be disrupted?

A: Yes, disruptions in the cleavage furrow formation can lead to various abnormalities, including cytokinesis failure and the formation of multinucleated cells. These disruptions can have significant implications for cell and organism function.

Final Thoughts

The formation of the cleavage furrow is a crucial step in cell division, ensuring the proper distribution of genetic material and cellular components between daughter cells. Its timing and mechanism are tightly regulated to ensure accurate and successful cytokinesis.

By understanding the stages of cell division and the role of the contractile ring, we gain insights into the intricate processes that govern life at the cellular level. Further research into cleavage furrow formation can provide valuable insights into developmental biology, tissue regeneration, and diseases associated with cell division abnormalities.

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