Cytoskeleton: Definition, Structure, Function, Composition and their Types (microtubules, microfilaments and Intermediate Filaments)


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

  • Discovery of Cytoskeleton 
  • Definition 

2. Exploring types and Structure of cytoskeleton 

  • Microfilaments (Actin Filaments)
  • Composition and Arrangement
  • Microtubules
  • Tubulin as Building Blocks, Structural Roles
  • Intermediate Filaments

3. Functions of the Cytoskeleton

  • Shaping the Cell and Providing Support
  • Facilitating Intracellular Transport
  • Orchestrating Cell Division (Mitosis and Cytokinesis)
  • Driving Cellular Motility (Cilia and Flagella)


Cytoskeleton

Cytoskeleton: Definition, Structure, Function, Composition and their Types (microtubules, microfilaments and Intermediate Filaments)


Discovery

Koltzoff in 1928, by his microscopic studies suggested the existence of an organized fibrous network of skeleton in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cell.  Latteron Cohen (1977) confirmed the views of Koltzoff, by his electronic microscopic studies. 

Definition 

According to Cohen, the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells contain a cytoskeletal network of different types of microtubules, microfilaments and intermediate filamaents that provides structural support, helps maintain cell shape, and facilitates various cellular processes such is cell division and intracellular transport.

The main proteins that are present in the cytoskeleton are tubulin (in microtubules), actin, myosin, tropomyosin and others which are also found in muscles. 


Cytoskeleton: Definition, Structure, Function, Composition and their Types (microtubules, microfilaments and Intermediate Filaments)


Function

Several cell organelles are derived from special assembelies of microtubules, e.g cilia, flagella, basal bodies and centrioles. Cyclosis and amoeboid movements are because of microfilaments, where as intermediate filaments are involved in determination of cell shape and integration of cellular components.   

Types of Cytoskeleton

Cytoskeleton: Definition, Structure, Function, Composition and their Types (microtubules, microfilaments and Intermediate Filaments)


1) Microtubules

Microtubules are long, unbranched and cylindrical structure. Their average diameter of about 25nm, chemically made of tubulin protein. 

Function

The important function of microtubules is their role in the assembly and disassembly of spindle fibers during cell division.  

Also provide internal structure to the cell.

Involve in the formation of Cilia, Flagella, Basal bodies and Centrioles.

The are also in supporting the cell.


Cytoskeleton: Definition, Structure, Function, Composition and their Types (microtubules, microfilaments and Intermediate Filaments)


2) Microfilaments

These are consider more thin cylindrical in structure. Average diameter of about 7 nm. Chemically made of contractile protein called actin, which is linked to the inner face of plasma membrane. 

Function

They are involved in internal cell motion.

Also involved in cyclosis and ameboid movements.

They are also involved in supporting the cell.

3) Intermediate Filaments

They have diameter in between of those microtubules and microfilaments.  Their average diameter of about 8-10 nm.

Function

The play role in the maintenance of cell shape and integration of cellular compartments of cells.

The involve in axon formation of nerve cell.

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