The cytoskeleton is a kind of network of fibers that is part of the scaffolding of all eukaryotic cells.
It is often called the “backbone” of the cell.
While it was previously thought that only eukaryotic cells had cytoskeletons, new research is showing that some homologues of the major proteins are found in prokaryotes.
The cytoskeleton gives the cell organelles structure and organization, as well as anchoring the cell.
It is made up of protein and has the job of being both the structure and the ability to help move substances around inside the cell.
Cytoskeletons have three main parts to them: microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and microtubules.
While all cells have a cytoskeleton, they perform different jobs in different cell types.
Plant-like cells have a cell wall that helps to keep them rigid and sturdy, however, animal cells don’t have a cell wall to help them to keep their shape.
The cytoskeleton is an important factor for all eukaryotic cells (those that have a nucleus and other organelles with membranes), as it plays the same role as our own skeletons do.
Without our skeletons we would simply be squishy bags of water and chemicals. The cytoskeleton structure enables lysosomes, vesicles, and nutrients to be efficiently moved through the cell.
You might think being the main sturdy structure for a cell is enough, but cytoskeletons have multiple functions.
It gives the cell the ability to be mobile, and it also moves substances throughout the inside of the cell. It does this through the use of the cytoskeleton filaments.
Once any substance comes through the cell membrane, the filaments move the materials. The filaments are varying sizes and are made up of protein chains.
The largest of these filaments is the microtubules. The smallest filaments are microfilaments (also known as actin filaments), and the medium-sized filaments are Intermediate filaments.
Each filament type has a specific purpose:
The cytoskeleton is also involved in the growth of cells in both differentiation and division. They are critical for the form, integrity, and resistance of the cell.
Scientists believe that the cytoskeleton has provided a kind of foundation for every living cell.
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