The metaphase plate is a plane or region that is approximately equidistant from the two poles of a dividing cell. In mitosis, for instance, the metaphase plate is apparent during metaphase. The formation of metaphase plate is in fact one of the indications that the cell is in metaphase. Metaphase is that stage in mitosis that follows after prophase. During metaphase, the condensed chromosomes are oriented at the equatorial plane (metaphase plate) while the microtubules (that formed during prophase) would attach to the kinetochores so that in the preceding stages the chromosomes would separate and move towards the opposite poles, ultimately forming two cells with identical chromosomes. In meiosis, the metaphase plate is also seen during metaphase. Since meiosis is comprised of two meiotic divisions, the metaphase plate is seen twice, i.e. in metaphase I and in metaphase II. The spindle apparatus that form during prophase is the one that facilitates the alignment of chromosomes at the equatorial region.
- equatorial plane