The Function Of a Cytoskeleton

As the name implies, a cytoskeleton is the frame that gives shape to a cell. Just like in a human being, the skeleton also helps hold all of the organelles (organs, in people) in place. Finally, it also assists in moving materials in and out of the cell.

Through a series of intercellular proteins, the cytoskeleton gives a cell its shape, offers support, and facilitates movement through three main components: microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and microtubules. The cytoskeleton helps the cell move in its environment and controls the movement of all of the cell's interior workings.

Microfilaments are the smallest of the three parts of the cytoskeleton, as they are only around seven nanometers in diameter. These helically shaped filaments are made up of G-actin proteins. Intermediate filaments are slightly larger at eight to twelve nanometers around, and these keratin-based filaments are twisted around each other to form a cord shape. Microtubules are made of stronger proteins that form long, hollow cylinders. They are the largest of the three at twenty-five nanometers.

The microtubules have three different functions which contribute to the job of the cytoskeleton. They make up the centrioles in a cell, they are the base of both the flagella and cilia of a cell, and they function as the pathway thatthe transport vesicles move along.


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