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Plant cells are quite different from the cells of the other eukaryotic kingdoms' organisms. Their distinctive
features are:
A large central vacuole (enclosed by a membrane, the tonoplast), which maintains the cell's
turgor pressure and controls movement of molecules between the cytosol and sap.
A cell wall made up of cellulose and protein, and in many cases lignin, and deposited by the
protoplast on the outside of the cell membrane. This contrasts with the cell walls of fungi, which
are made of chitin, and prokaryotes, which are made of peptidoglycan.
The plasmodesmata, linking pores in the cell wall that allow each plant cell to communicate with
other adjacent cells. This is different from the network of hyphae used by fungi.
Plastids, especially chloroplasts that contain chlorophyll, the pigment that gives plants their green
color and allows them to perform photosynthesis.
Plant groups without flagella (including conifers and flowering plants) also lack centrioles that are
present in animal cells.
Cell types
Parenchyma Cells - These cells are the biochemistry machines of the plant. They are alive at maturity
and are specialized in any number of structural and biochemical ways. Other than support functions, this
cell type is the basis for all plant structure and function. Parenchyma cells have thin primary walls, and
highly functional cytoplasm. The cells are alive at maturity and are responsible for a wide range of
biochemical function. For example, other than xylem in vascular bundles, the leaf is composed of
parenchyma cells. Some, as in the epidermis, are specialized for light penetration, regulating gas
exchange, or anti-herbivory physiology. Other cells, as in the mesophyll, are specialized for
photosynthesis or phloem loading.
Collenchyma Cells - Collenchyma cells are also alive at maturity and have only a primary wall.
These cells mature from meristem derivatives. They pass briefly through a stage resembling
parenchyma, however they are determined to differentiate into collenchyma, and this fact is quite
obvious from the very earliest stages. Plastids do not develop and secretory apparatus (ER and
Golgi) proliferates to assist in the accumulation of additional primary wall. This is laid down where
three or more cells come in contact. Areas of wall where only two cells come in contact remain as
thin as those of parenchyma cells.
The design and function is to build and maintain the special unevenly thick primary cell wall. The cells
are also typically quite elongate. The role of this cell type is to support the plant in areas still growing in
length. The primary wall lacks lignin that would make it brittle, so this cell type provides what could be
called plastic support, support that can hold a young stem or petiole into the air, but in cells that can be
stretched as the cells around them elongate. Parts of the strings in celery are collenchyma.
Sclerenchyma Cells - These cells are hard and brittle.The cells develop an extensive secondary
cell wall (laid down on the inside of the primary wall). This wall is invested with lignin, making it
extremely hard. Lignin, plus suberin and/or cutin make the wall waterproof as well. Thus, these
cells cannot survive for long as they cannot exchange materials well enough for active (or even
maintaining) metabolism. They are typically dead at functional maturity...the cytoplasm is missing
by the time the cell can begin to carry out its function.
Functions for sclerenchyma cells include discouraging herbivory (hard cells that rip open digestive
passages in small insect larval stages, hard cells forming a pit wall in a peach fruit), support (the wood in
a tree trunk, fibers in large herbs), and conduction (hollow cells lined end-to-end in xylem with cytoplasm
and end walls missing).

Cell membrane
Cell wall
o Tonoplast
o Crystal
o Chloroplast
o Leucoplast
o Chromoplast
Golgi Complex
Endoplasmic reticulum
o Nuclear envelope (membrane)
o Nuclear pore
 Chromatin
 Messenger RNA
 Transfer RNA
The cell membrane (also called the plasma membrane or plasmalemma) is a semipermeable lipid
bilayer common to all living cells. It contains a variety of biological molecules, primarily proteins and lipids,
which are involved in a vast array of cellular processes. It also serves as the attachment point for both the
intracellular cytoskeleton and, if present, the cell wall. Robert Hooke was the first one to name the cells
parts including the plasma membrane
A cell wall is a fairly rigid layer surrounding a cell, located external to the cell membrane that
provides the cell with structural support, protection, and a filtering mechanism. The cell wall also prevents
over-expansion when water enters the cell. They are found in plants, bacteria, archaea, fungi, and algae.
Animals and most protists do not have cell walls.
In plants, the cell wall is constructed primarily from a carbohydrate polymer called cellulose, and the
cell wall can therefore also functions as a carbohydrate store for the cell. In bacteria, peptidoglycan forms
the cell wall.
Composition of the cell wall
The major carbohydrates making up the primary cell wall are cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin. The
cellulose microfibrils are linked via hemicellulosic tethers to form the cellulose-hemicellulose network,
which is embedded in the pectin matrix. The most common hemicellulose in the primary cell wall is

The three primary polymers that make up plant cell walls consist of about 35, 20 to 35 %
hemicellulose and 10 to 25% lignin. Lignin fills the spaces in the cell wall between cellulose,
hemicellulose and pectin components.
Plant cells walls also incorporate a number of proteins; the most abundant include hydroxyproline-rich
glycoproteins (HRGP), also called the extensins, the arabinogalactan proteins (AGP), the glycine-rich
proteins (GRPs), and the proline-rich proteins (PRPs). With the exception of glycine-rich proteins, all the
previously mentioned proteins are glycosylated and contain hydroxyproline (Hyp). Each class of
glycoprotein is defined by a characteristic, highly repetitive protein sequence. Chimeric proteins contain
two or more different domains, each with a sequence from a different class of glycoprotein. Most cell wall
proteins are cross-linked to the cell wall and may have structural functions. Secondary cell wall may
contain lignin and suberin, making the walls rigid. The relative composition of carbohydrates, secondary
compounds and protein varies between plants and between the cell type and age.
Formation of the cell wall
The middle lamella is laid first, formed from the cell plate during cytokinesis, and the primary cell wall
is then expanded inside the middle lamella. The actual structure of the cell wall is not clearly defined and
several models exist - the covalently linked cross model, the tether model, the diffuse layer model and the
stratified layer model. However, the primary cell wall, can be defined as composed of cellulose microfibrils
aligned at all angles. Microfibrils are held together by hydrogen bonds to provide a high tensile strength.
The cells are held together and share the gelatinous membrane called the middle lamella, which contains
magnesium and calcium pectates (salts of pectic acid). Cells interact though plasmodesma(ta), which are
inter-connecting channels of cytoplasm that connect to the protoplasts of adjacent cells across the cell
In some plants and cell types, after a maximum size or point in development has been reached, a
secondary wall is constructed between the plant cell and primary wall. Unlike the primary wall, the
microfibrils are aligned mostly in the same direction, and with each additional layer the orientation
changes slightly. Cells with secondary cell walls are rigid. Cell to cell communication is possible through
pits in the secondary cell wall that allow plasmodesma to connect cells through the secondary cell walls.
Cytoplasm is a water-like substance that fills cells. The cytoplasm consists of cytosol and the cellular
organelles, except the cell nucleus. The cytosol is made up of water, salts, organic molecules and many
enzymes that catalyze reactions. The cytoplasm plays an important role in a cell, serving as a "molecular
chowder" in which the organelles are suspended and held together by a fatty membrane. It is found within
the plasma membrane of a cell and surrounds the nucleus and envelopes the organelles.
While all cells possess cytoplasm, cells from different biological domains can differ widely in the
characteristics of their cytoplasms. In the animal kingdom, cytoplasm occupies nearly half the cell's
volume, while in plant cells, the cytoplasm occupies much less space because of the presence of
Most mature plant cells have one or several vacuoles that typically occupy more than 30% of the
cell's volume, and that can occupy as much as 90% of the volume for certain cell types and conditions. A
vacuole is surrounded by a membrane called the tonoplast.
The vacuole is the intermediate substance revolving through the external resistance, it helps relocate
the interface membrane and change the cytoplasm in shape and diameter. It also dislocates the outer
chloroplasts to reform the nucleus membrane system.
This vacuole houses large amounts of a liquid called cell sap, composed of water, enzymes,
inorganic ions (like K
and Cl
), salts (such as calcium), and other substances, including toxic byproducts
removed from the cytosol to avoid interference with metabolism. Toxins located in the vacuole may also

help to protect some plants from predators. The transport of protons from cytosol to vacuole aids in
keeping cytoplasmic pH stable, while making the vacuolar interior more acidic, allowing degradative
enzymes to act. Although having a large central vacuole is the most common case, the size and number
of vacuoles may vary in different tissues and stages of development. Cells of the vascular cambium, for
example, have many small vacuoles in winter, and one large one in summer.
Aside from storage, the main role of the central vacuole is to maintain turgor pressure against the cell
wall. Proteins found in the tonoplast control the flow of water into and out of the vacuole through active
transport, pumping potassium (K
) ions into and out of the vacuolar interior. Due to osmosis, water will
diffuse into the vacuole, placing pressure on the cell wall. If water loss leads to a significant decline in
turgor pressure, the cell will plasmolyze. Turgor pressure exerted by vacuoles is also helpful for cellular
elongation: as the cell wall is partially degraded by the action of auxins, the less rigid wall is expanded by
the pressure coming from within the vacuole. Vacuoles can help some plant cells to reach considerable
size. Another function of a central vacuole is that it pushes all contents of the cell's cytoplasm against the
cellular membrane, and thus keeps the chloroplasts closer to light. The vacuole also stores the
pigments in flowers and fruits.
Plastids are major organelles found in plants and algae.
Plastids are responsible for photosynthesis, storage of products like starch and for the synthesis of
many classes of molecules such as fatty acids and terpenes which are needed as cellular building blocks
and/or for the function of the plant. Depending on their morphology and function, plastids have the ability
to differentiate, or redifferentiate, between these and other forms. All plastids are derived from proplastids
(formerly "eoplasts", eo-: dawn, early), which are present in the meristematic regions of the plant.
Proplastids and young chloroplasts commonly divide, but more mature chloroplasts also have this
capacity. In plants, plastids may differentiate into several forms, depending upon which function they
need to play in the cell. Undifferentiated plastids (proplastids) may develop into any of the following
Chloroplasts: for photosynthesis; ( etioplasts, the predecessors of chloroplasts )
Chromoplasts: for pigment synthesis and storage
Leucoplasts: for monoterpene synthesis; leucoplasts sometimes differentiate into more
specialized plastids:
o Amyloplasts: for starch storage
 Statoliths: for detecting gravity
o Elaioplasts: for storing fat
o Proteinoplasts: for storing and modifying protein
The Golgi apparatus (also called the Golgi body, Golgi complex, or dictyosome) is an organelle
found that was identified in 1898 by the Italian physician Camillo Golgi and was named after him. The
primary function of the Golgi apparatus is to process and package macromolecules synthesised by the
cell, primarily proteins and lipids. The Golgi apparatus forms a part of the endomembrane system present
in eukaryotic cells.

The Golgi is composed of membrane-bound sacs known as cisternae. Between five and eight are
usually present, however as many as sixty have been observed. Surrounding the main cisternae are a
number of spherical vesicles which have budded off from the cisternae. The cisternae stack has five
functional regions: the cis-Golgi network, cis-Golgi, medial-Golgi, trans-Golgi, and trans-Golgi network.
Vesicles from the endoplasmic reticulum (via the vesicular-tubular cluster) fuse with the cis-Golgi network
and subsequently progress through the stack to the trans-Golgi network, where they are packaged and
sent to the required destination. Each region contains different enzymes which selectively modify the
contents depending on where they are destined to reside.


Cells synthesize a large number of different macromolecules required for life. The Golgi apparatus is
integral in modifying, sorting, and packaging these substances for cell secretion (exocytosis) or for use
within the cell. It primarily modifies proteins delivered from the rough endoplasmic reticulum, but is also
involved in the transport of lipids around the cell, and the creation of lysosomes. In this respect it can be
thought of as similar to a post office; it packages and labels "items" and then sends them to different parts
of the cell.
A ribosome is a small, dense organelle that assembles proteins. Ribosomes are composed of 65%
ribosomal RNA and 35% ribosomal proteins (known as a ribonucleoprotein or RNP). It translates
messenger RNA (mRNA) to build a polypeptide chain (e.g., a protein) using amino acids delivered by
transfer RNA (tRNA). It can be thought of as a giant enzyme that builds a protein from a set of genetic
instructions. Ribosomes can float freely in the cytoplasm (the internal fluid of the cell) or bound to the
endoplasmic reticulum, or to the nuclear envelope.
The endoplasmic reticulum or ER is an organelle that is an interconnected network of tubules,
vesicles and cisternae that is responsible for several specialized functions: Protein translation, folding,
and transport of proteins to be used in the cell membrane (e.g., transmembrane receptors and other
integral membrane proteins), or to be secreted (exocytosed) from the cell (e.g., digestive enzymes);
sequestration of calcium; and production and storage of glycogen, steroids, and other macromolecules.
The endoplasmic reticulum is part of the endomembrane system. The basic structure and composition of
the ER membrane is similar to the plasma membrane.
Rough endoplasmic reticulum
The surface of the rough endoplasmic reticulum is studded with protein-manufacturing ribosomes
giving it a "rough" appearance (hence its name). But it should be noted that these ribosomes are not
resident of the endoplasmic reticulum incessantly. The ribosomes only bind to the ER once it begins to
synthesize a protein destined for sorting. The membrane of the rough endoplasmic reticulum is
continuous with the outer layer of the nuclear envelope. Although there is no continuous membrane
between the rough ER and the Golgi apparatus, membrane bound vesicles shuttle proteins between
these two compartments. The rough endoplasmic reticulum works in concert with the Golgi complex to
target new proteins to their proper destinations.
Smooth endoplasmic reticulum
The smooth endoplasmic reticulum has functions in several metabolic processes, including synthesis
of lipids, metabolism of carbohydrates and calcium concentration, and attachment of receptors on cell
membrane proteins. It is connected to the nuclear envelope. Smooth endoplasmic reticulum is found in a
variety of cell types (both animal and plant) and it serves different functions in each. It consists of tubules
and vesicles that branch forming a network. In some cells there are dilated areas like the sacs of rough
endoplasmic reticulum. The network of smooth endoplasmic reticulum allows increased surface area for
the action or storage of key enzymes and the products of these enzymes.
A mitochondrion (plural mitochondria) is a membrane-enclosed organelle, sometimes described as
"cellular power plants," because they convert NADH and NADPH into energy in the form of ATP via the
process of oxidative phosphorylation. Mitochondria contain DNA that is independent of the DNA located
in the cell nucleus.
A mitochondrion contains inner and outer membranes composed of phospholipid bilayers and
proteins. The two membranes, however, have different properties. Because of this double-membraned
organization, there are 5 distinct compartments within mitochondria. There is the outer membrane, the
intermembrane space (the space between the outer and inner membranes), the inner membrane, the

cristae space (formed by infoldings of the inner membrane), and the matrix (space within the inner
membrane. Although it is well known that the mitochondria convert organic materials into cellular energy
in the form of ATP, mitochondria play an important role in many metabolic tasks such as:
Apoptosis-programmed cell death
Cellular proliferation
Regulation of the cellular redox state
Microtubules are one of the components of the cytoskeleton. Microtubules serve as structural
components within cells and are involved in many cellular processes including mitosis, cytokinesis, and
vesicular transport.
Microfilaments are any of the minute fibers located throughout the cytoplasm of cells, composed of
actin and functioning primarily in maintaining the structural integrity of a cell.
Lysosomes are organelles that contain digestive enzymes (acid hydrolases). They digest excess or
worn out organelles, food particles, and engulfed viruses or bacteria. The membrane surrounding a
lysosome prevents the digestive enzymes inside from destroying the cell. Lysosomes fuse with vacuoles
and dispense their enzymes into the vacuoles, digesting their contents. They are built in the Golgi
apparatus. The name lysosome derives from the Greek words lysis, which means dissolution or
destruction, and soma, which means body. They are frequently nicknamed "suicide-bags" or "suicide-
sacs" by cell biologists due to their role in autolysis (programmed self-destruction). Lysosomes were
discovered by the Belgian cytologist Christian de Duve in 1949.
A microbody is a membrane-bound cytoplasmic particle which cannot be morphologically
differentiated. Microbodies are organelles specialized as containers for metabolic activity. Types include
lysosomes, peroxisomes and glyoxisomes. Lysosomes contain hydrolytic enzymes involved in
intracellular digestion. Peroxisomes contain oxidative enzymes. Glyoxysomes are mostly found in
germinating seeds. Seedlings use glyoxysomes to convert fat into carbohydrate, until they can produce
their own nutrients.
Hyaloplasm is the structureless fluid in cells. It consists of basically the cytosol, but without the
The nucleus is a specialized structure occurring in most cells (except bacteria) and separated from
the rest of the cell by the nuclear envelope) membrane, the central region of the cell. The nucleus usually
appears as a dark spot in the interior of the cell. This membrane seems to be continuous with the cell's
endoplasmic reticulum and has pores (nuclear pore) that permit the passage of large molecules. The
nucleus controls and regulates the cell's activities (e.g., growth and metabolism) and in which DNA
(genes) is stored. Nucleoli are small bodies often seen within the nucleus that play an important part in
the synthesis of RNA and protein. A cell normally contains only one nucleus.
Chromatin is the complex of DNA and protein found inside the nuclei of eukaryotic cells. The nucleic
acids are in the form of double-stranded DNA (a double helix). The major proteins involved in chromatin
are histone proteins, although many other chromosomal proteins have prominent roles too. The functions
of chromatin are to package DNA into a smaller volume to fit in the cell, to strengthen the DNA to allow
mitosis and meiosis, and to serve as a mechanism to control expression.
Tissue types
These three major classes of cells can then differentiate to form the tissue structures of roots, stems,
and leaves. Plants have these types of tissues, and they have similar locations within all species of
plants. However, the amount of these tissues will vary for different plant species.

The three distinct types of plant cells are classified according to the structure of their cell walls and
features of their protoplast. Plants will have a primary cell wall and sometimes a secondary wall as well.
These two major parts are what determines the function of each individual plant cell.
Dermal tissue - The outermost covering of a plant
Vascular tissue - Responsible for transport of materials throughout the plant
Ground tissue - Performs photosynthesis, starch storage and structural support; ground tissues
may be composed of one of three cell types
o Parenchyma - Thin primary walls, may not have a secondary wall; can develop into more
specialized plant tissues
o Collenchyma - Unevenly thickened primary walls, grouped together to support growing
parts of the plant
o Sclerenchyma - Thick secondary walls, used to support non-growing parts of the plant

Mitosis is the process by which a cell duplicates its genetic information (DNA), in order to generate
two, identical, daughter cells. It is generally followed immediately by cytokinesis which divides the
cytoplasm and cell membrane. This results in two identical daughter cells with a roughly equal distribution
of organelles and other cellular components. Mitosis and cytokinesis together define the mitotic (M)
phase of the cell cycle, the division of the mother cell into two daughter cells, each with the genetic
equivalent of the parent cell. Mitosis occurs exclusively in eukaryotic cells. In multicellular organisms,
the somatic cells undergo mitosis, while germ cells — cells destined to become sperm in males or ova in
females — divide by a related process called meiosis. Prokaryotic cells, which lack a nucleus, divide by a
process called binary fission.

The process of mitosis is complex and highly regulated. The sequence of events is divided into
phases, corresponding to the completion of one set of activities and the start of the next. These stages
are prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase. During the process of mitosis the
pairs of chromosomes condense and attach to fibers that pull the sister chromatids to opposite sides of
the cell. The cell then divides in cytokinesis, to produce two identical daughter cells.

Because cytokinesis usually occurs in conjunction with mitosis, "mitosis" is often used
interchangeably with "mitotic phase". However, there are many cells where mitosis and cytokinesis occur
separately, forming single cells with multiple nuclei. Errors in mitosis can either kill a cell through

The primary result of mitosis is the division of the parent cell's genome into two daughter cells. The
genome is composed of a number of chromosomes, complexes of tightly-coiled DNA that contain genetic
information vital for proper cell function. Because each resultant daughter cell should be genetically
identical to the parent cell, the parent cell must make a copy of each chromosome before mitosis. This
occurs during S phase, in interphase, the period that precedes the mitotic phase in the cell cycle where
preparation for mitosis occurs.

Each new chromosome now contains two identical copies of itself, called sister chromatids, attached
together in a specialized region of the chromosome known as the centromere. Each sister chromatid is
not considered a chromosome in itself, and a chromosome does not always contain two sister

The nuclear envelope that separates the DNA from the cytoplasm disassembles. The chromosomes
align themselves in a line spanning the cell. Microtubules, essentially miniature strings, splay out from
opposite ends of the cell and shorten, pulling apart the sister chromatids of each chromosome. As a
matter of convention, each sister chromatid is now considered a chromosome, so they are renamed to
sister chromosomes. As the cell elongates, corresponding sister chromosomes are pulled toward
opposite ends. A new nuclear envelope forms around the separated sister chromosomes.

As mitosis completes cytokinesis is well underway. In plant cells, the daughter cells will construct a
new dividing cell wall between each other. Eventually, the mother cell will be split in half, giving rise to two
daughter cells, each with an equivalent and complete copy of the original genome.


The cell cycle
The mitotic phase is a relatively short period of the cell cycle. It alternates with the much longer
interphase, where the cell prepares itself for cell division. Interphase is divided into three phases, G1
(first gap), S (synthesis), and G2 (second gap). During all three phases, the cell grows by producing
proteins and cytoplasmic organelles. However, chromosomes are replicated only during the S phase.
Thus, a cell grows (G1), continues to grow as it duplicates its chromosomes (S), grows more and
prepares for mitosis (G2), and divides (M).

In plant cells only, prophase is preceded by a pre-prophase stage. In highly vacuolated plant cells,
the nucleus has to migrate into the center of the cell before mitosis can begin. This is achieved through
the formation of a phragmosome, a transverse sheet of cytoplasm that bisects the cell along the future
plane of cell division. In addition to phragmosome formation, preprophase is characterized by the
formation of a ring of microtubules and actin filaments (called preprophase band) underneath the
plasmamembrane around the equatorial plane of the future mitotic spindle and predicting the position of
cell plate fusion during telophase. The cells of higher plants (such as the flowering plants) lack centrioles.
Instead, spindle microtubules aggregate on the surface of the nuclear envelope during prophase. The
preprophase band disappears during nuclear envelope disassembly and spindle formation in


Prophase: The two round objects above the nucleus are the centrosomes. Note the condensed
Normally, the genetic material in the nucleus is in a loosely bundled coil called chromatin. At the
onset of prophase, chromatin condenses together into a highly ordered structure called a chromosome.
Since the genetic material has already been duplicated earlier in S phase, the replicated chromosomes
have two sister chromatids, bound together at the centromere by the cohesion complex. Chromosomes
are visible at high magnification through a light microscope.


Close to the nucleus are two centrosomes. Each centrosome, which was replicated earlier
independent of mitosis, acts as a coordinating center for the cell's microtubules. The two centrosomes
nucleate microtubules (which may be thought of as cellular ropes or poles) by polymerizing soluble
tubulin present in the cytoplasm. Molecular motor proteins create repulsive forces that will push the
centrosomes to opposite side of the nucleus.


Prometaphase: The nuclear membrane has degraded, and microtubules have invaded the nuclear space.
These microtubules can attach to kinetochores or they can interact with opposing microtubules.

The nuclear envelope disassembles and microtubules invade the nuclear space. This is called open
mitosis, and it occurs in most multicellular organisms.

Each chromosome forms two kinetochores at the centromere, one attached at each chromatid. A
kinetochore is a complex protein structure that is analogous to a ring for the microtubule hook; it is the
point where microtubules attach themselves to the chromosome. Although the kinetochore structure and
function are not fully understood, it is known that it contains some form of molecular motor. When a
microtubule connects with the kinetochore, the motor activates, using energy from ATP to "crawl" up the
tube toward the originating centrosome. This motor activity, coupled with polymerization and
depolymerization of microtubules, provides the pulling force necessary to later separate the
chromosome's two chromatids.

When the spindle grows to sufficient length, kinetochore microtubules begin searching for
kinetochores to attach to. A number of nonkinetochore microtubules find and interact with corresponding
nonkinetochore microtubules from the opposite centrosome to form the mitotic spindle. Prometaphase is
sometimes considered part of prophase.


Metaphase: The chromosomes have aligned at the metaphase plate.

As microtubules find and attach to kinetochores in prometaphase, the centromeres of the
chromosomes convene along the metaphase plate or equatorial plane, an imaginary line that is
equidistant from the two centrosome poles. This even alignment is due to the counterbalance of the
pulling powers generated by the opposing kinetochores, analogous to a tug-of-war between equally
strong people. In certain types of cells, chromosomes do not line up at the metaphase plate and instead
move back and forth between the poles randomly, only roughly lining up along the midline. Metaphase
comes from the Greek μετα meaning "after."

Because proper chromosome separation requires that every kinetochore be attached to a bundle of
microtubules (spindle fibers), it is thought that unattached kinetochores generate a signal to prevent
premature progression to anaphase without all chromosomes being aligned. The signal creates the
mitotic spindle checkpoint.


Early anaphase: Kinetochore microtubules shorten

When every kinetochore is attached to a cluster of microtubules and the chromosomes have lined up
along the metaphase plate, the cell proceeds to anaphase Two events then occur; First, the proteins that
bind sister chromatids together are cleaved, allowing them to separate. These sister chromatids turned
sister chromosomes are pulled apart by shortening kinetochore microtubules and toward the respective
centrosomes to which they are attached. Next, the nonkinetochore microtubules elongate, pushing the
centrosomes (and the set of chromosomes to which they are attached) apart to opposite ends of the cell.

These two stages are sometimes called early and late anaphase. Early anaphase is usually defined
as the separation of the sister chromatids, while late anaphase is the elongation of the microtubules and
the microtubules being pulled farther apart. At the end of anaphase, the cell has succeeded in separating
identical copies of the genetic material into two distinct populations.


Telophase: Formation of daughter nuclei. Note the decondensing chromosomes.

Telophase (from the Greek τελος meaning "end") is a reversal of prophase and prometaphase
events. It "cleans up" the after effects of mitosis. At telophase, the nonkinetochore microtubules continue
to lengthen, elongating the cell even more. Corresponding sister chromosomes attach at opposite ends of
the cell. A new nuclear envelope, using fragments of the parent cell's nuclear membrane, forms around
each set of separated sister chromosomes. Both sets of chromosomes, now surrounded by new nuclei,
unfold back into chromatin. Mitosis is complete, but cell division has yet one more step to complete.


Often (mistakenly) thought to be the same process as telophase, cytokinesis, if it is to occur, is
usually well under way by this time. In both animal and plant cells, cell division is also driven by vesicles

derived from the Golgi apparatus, which move along microtubules to the middle of the cell. In plants this
structure coalesces into a cell plate at the center of the phragmoplast and develops into a cell wall,
separating the two nuclei. The phragmoplast is a microtubule structure typical for higher plants, whereas
some green algae use a phycoplast microtubule array during cytokinesis. Each daughter cell has a
complete copy of the genome of its parent cell.

Many believe that cytokinesis is a part of mitosis, but mitosis and cytokinesis are two different phases
in the cell cycle. Mitosis ends at telophase.

Summary-The final step of cell division in which the membrane cleaves and there are two separate
cells. The original cell has stopped dividing.


The importance of mitosis is the maintenance of the chromosomal set; each cell formed receives
chromosomes that are alike in composition and equal in number to the chromosomes of the parent cell.
Transcription is generally believed to cease during mitosis, but epigenetic mechanisms such as
bookmarking function during this stage of the cell cycle to ensure that the "memory" of which genes were
active prior to entry into mitosis are transmitted to the daughter cells.

Consequences of errors

Although errors in mitosis are rare, the process may go wrong, especially during early cellular
divisions (in the zygote). Mitotic errors can be especially dangerous to the organism (because future
offspring from this parent cell will carry the same disorder in such case).



Stage of
Images Description

The nuclear envelope dissappears, the chromosomes condense, often
appearing as a "ball of yarn."


Microtubules assemble, forming the spindle. Centromers attach the
chromosome to the spindle which manoeuvers the chromosomes to the
center of the cell. (The spindle is visible in these images).

Centromeres split, and the kinetochore component of the centromere
pulls the chromosome along the microtubule towards the end of the cell.
this is by far the shortest phase, and anaphase figures are therefore less
common in these preparations.

Chromosomes have reached the ends of the cell and appear tighly
contracted. The spindle will dissolve, nuclear membrane reform, and
cytokinesis will divide the cell into two genetically identical daughter cells.