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Definition Prompt

The Cell Cycle and Mitosis

The cell cycle is comprised of different stages that prepare the cell for replication. The

cell begins with interphase, mitosis, and ends with cytokinesis. Mitosis is the reproductive

phase of the cell that is further broken down into 5 stages. In chronological order these phases

are prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase. Key changes in

chromosomal duplication result in identical diploid daughter cells. Diploidy refers to the 23

pairs of chromosomes derived from mother and father. Mitosis should not be confused with

meiosis, a specialized cell division process found in the eggs and sperm. Meiosis results in

different haploid daughter cells meaning they contain 23 non-paired chromosomes. Mitosis is

vital to tissue repair and growth by replacing damaged cells and promoting regeneration.

Mitosis is a process seen in all life from microscopic organisms to the largest creatures on Earth.

Specific terminology or the mechanisms of different phases may vary amongst organisms, for

example plant and human cells have different methods of cell separation (Rogers, 2011).

However, the end result is always the same—identical duplicated cells.


The cell cycle starts with interphase which is characterized by growth and duplication. This is

where the cell contents and organelles, or specialized structures, are duplicated and prepared

for the mitotic process. As seen in Figure 1, the S phase of interphase is especially important

because this is where DNA is duplicated. Interphase is marked by checkpoints in the G1, S, and

G2 stages where machinery checks for errors and makes sure the cell cycle is progressing
normally. If these checkpoints are not

met, the cell cycle will be stopped in the

G0 stage. If the errors are not corrected

then apoptosis, or cell death, will occur.


As seen in figure 1, mitosis occurs after

G1, S, and G2 phases that make up


Prophase Clinical Tools Inc, Cell Cycle,

The beginning of mitosis is characterized by Figure 1. The cell cycle of a cell. G1, G2, and S are all
part of interphase. Mitosis is when cell division
DNA condensation. Before condensation, occurs, and the end of the cell cycle is after
cytokinesis. Most of the cell cycle is taken up by
DNA has been doubled in the S stage of interphase. Important checkpoints are present
throughout Interphase, one of them highlighted in
interphase and is in the form of chromatin, this figure for G2.

which is a complex containing DNA and proteins. When condensed it assumes the structure of

two chromatids, or duplicated chromosomes, joined in the center at the centromere. This

shape can be seen in Figure 2, which shows the two joined chromatids as X’s in the middle of

the cell, and they are joined at the red circle which is the centromere. The nuclear envelope

begins to disappear as the cell prepares for chromosome separation.


With the nuclear envelope gone microtubules begin to attach to points on the centromere
called kinetochores. Microtubules are responsible for pulling the chromosomes to the middle of

the cell in the next phase (University of Arizona, 2004).


Figure 2 shows how the sister chromatids begin

to align in the middle of the cell, along the

metaphase plate, and how they are guided

there by spindle fibers (Figure 2). They are

arranged in the middle so that they can be

Khaled bin Sultan,
equally divided into the two new daughter cells
Figure 2. Newly condensed chromosomes
are arranged as sister chromatids connected (University of Arizona, 2004).
together at the centromere. Microtubule
attachment occurs at the kinetochores Anaphase
located at the centromere. This is important
for lining up chromosomes in metaphase.
The paired chromosomes are separated as each

sister chromatid is pulled in the opposite direction towards either end of the cell. This is

accomplished by mitotic spindle, which includes the combined forces of shortening kinetochore

microtubules along spindle fibers (University of Arizona, 2004).


Telophase comes from the Greek words meaning end and stage and is the final stage of mitosis.

Separated sister chromatids have now reached opposite sides of the cell, where they will uncoil

and decondense back into chromosomes. Figure 3 shows these decondensed chromosomes,

surrounded by the newly forming nuclear envelope (University of Arizona, 2004). The cell is

now ready to enter the final stage of the cell cycle.


Despite DNA duplication and the formation of two

nuclei allocated on opposite sides of the cell, the

cell cycle is not complete. The cell still needs to

separate into two identical daughter cells. This

stage of the cycle can differ depending on the origin

of the cell. For example, Figure 3 illustrates the

formation of a cleavage furrow in animal cells,

which pinches the cell where the metaphase plate once Sparknotes, Telophase and Cytokinesis
was. This occurs through a complex of proteins that form
Figure 3. The contractile ring that creates
contractile ring and separate the cell into two daughter the cleavage furrow in animal cells is shown,
along with the separated decondensed DNA
cells containing their respective nuclei (Glotzer, 2005). and reformed nuclear envelope.

Whereas in plant cells, a cell plate is built in the middle to separate the

two cells (University of Arizona, 2004).

Errors in Replication and Disease

Cancer is an illness that is marked by unregulated cell growth that leads to the development of

tumors that can either be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Unchecked cell

growth is when a cell is not able to be arrested, or enter G0 of the cell cycle, and grows

uncontrollably. Chemical damage in the form of mutagens or carcinogens, as well as radiation

from UV light can damage DNA and introduce mutations in cells which leads to this kind of

uncontrollable growth (Kastan and Bartek, 2004). One reason that contributes to the growth of
cancer, is that cancer cells are unable to regulate important checkpoint pathways in the mitotic

process. Damage in DNA accumulates in cells and if not repaired leads to cell proliferation and

genomic instability. To prevent this from occurring important checkpoints in the G1 and G2

stages of interphase determine if a defect is present and repair it (Dominguez-Brauer et al.,

2015). There is plentiful research looking into different ways to prevent cancer from thriving,

one such method is targeting the mitotic process itself. This involves cell-cycle targeting agents

and targeting cell-cycle checkpoints in an attempt to provide cancer therapy (Viscsonti et

al.,2016). Looking at the molecular biochemistry of these different checkpoints can lead to new

information in synthesizing drugs that are able to effectively target cancer cells.
Works Cited

Bartek, J., & Kastan, M. B. (2002). Cell Cycle Checkpoints and Cancer. Leukemia, 16(3), 400-401.


Dominguez-Brauer, C., Thu, K., Mason, J., Blaser, H., Bray, M., & Mak, T. (2015). Targeting

Mitosis in Cancer: Emerging Strategies. Molecular Cell, 60(4), 524-536.


Glotzer, M. (2005). The Molecular Requirements for Cytokinesis. Science, 307(5716), 1735-

1739. doi:10.1126/science.1096896

Rogers, K. (2011). Fungi, algae, and protists. New York, NY: Britannica Educational Pub. in

association with Rosen Educational Services.

University of Arizona (1997). The Cell Cycle and Mitosis. Retrieved February 19, 2018, from

Visconti, R., Monica, R. D., & Grieco, D. (2016). Cell cycle checkpoint in cancer: a therapeutically

targetable double-edged sword. Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research,

35(1). doi:10.1186/s13046-016-0433-9

The definition strategies I used included using a sentence definition at the very start of the entry

to quickly and concisely define the exact meaning of my word. I also employed parenthetical

definitions throughout the article to explain technical words and concepts. I used graphics to

illustrate some of the processes in mitosis, so that key steps could be visualized. I provided some

minor examples when explaining exceptions or differences. I partitioned the process of mitosis

into its different phases. I also used principle of operation when explaining some of the defining
features of the processes. I used negation to explain that mitosis and meiosis were not the same

process. I also provided the etymology of one of the phases to help provide more information on

what the phase is about.