Cleavage Furrow Definition
A cleavage furrow is an indentation that appears on the surface of a cell as the cell prepares to divide. It marks the beginning of the “wedging” of the cell membrane and the cytoplasm in the middle. Eventually, the cell will wedge itself completely into two parts and form two daughter cells.
This furrow is created by the same proteins that allow muscle cells to contract: actin and myosin. These proteins, which can expand or contract, form a “contractile ring” that compresses the cell along its center.
The compression creates a drawstring through this contractile ring until the opposite ends of the ring meet in the middle of the cell. At this point, the cell membrane on either side of the contractile ring fuses, forming the membranes of two new and independent cells.
Function of Cleavage Furrow
Cells multiply by dividing them into two parts. After successful cell reproduction, each half of the parent cell becomes a new, independent cell. This “daughter cell” can then grow and divide, and this “cell cycle” continues infinitely or until the cell population becomes too dense.
Cells must go through many steps to reproduce successfully. Inside the cell, DNA and essential organelles must be copied and then evenly distributed to opposite sides of the cell’s cytoplasm, which becomes its two daughter cells.
Once all of its components have been copied and distributed so that two healthy daughter cells are produced, the cell must actually divide in two.
Animal and algal cells, like most cells, have a complex network of proteins called the “cytoskeleton” that controls the shape of the cell. The cytoskeleton contains motor proteins like actin and myosin that can expand or contract to change the shape of the cell.
The cell’s cytoskeleton is needed when a cell needs to change shape. This can be necessary if a cell wants to form a vesicle from its cell membrane, for example in order to take up or excrete a substance. It is also necessary when the cell has to reproduce itself by dividing into two parts.