How Do Plant Cells Divide?

Plant cells divide through the process of mitosis, followed by cytokinesis. Mitosis in plant cells is similar to mitosis in animal cells, which occurs in four stages: prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase.

Before mitosis, the plant cell goes through an interphase, in which DNA is synthesized and genes are transcribed and gather to form the nucleolus. During prophase, chromosomes are condensed, the nuclear membrane disintegrates and spindle poles move to opposite ends of the spindle. Spindle microtubules are formed that attach to the centromeres of the chromosomes. In metaphase, chromosomes line up along the equator of the cell.

Anaphase occurs in two parts. In anaphase A, sister chromatids separate at the centromeres. Then in anaphase B, the chromatids are pulled apart towards opposite poles as the spindle poles shorten. Finally, in telophase, the chromosomes decondense, the nuclear membrane reforms and the spindle poles disappear. A telophasic bundle forms at the equator of the cell to prepare the cell plate, and two distinguishable cells can be observed at this point. This mitotic process is followed by cytokinesis, in which the cell plate is formed from cellulose and becomes part of the cell wall. Two separate plant cells can be observed at this stage.