Blog / General Function In Cell Support And Movement

General function in cell support and movement

Written by Cindy Ma on Feb 12, 2020

The cytoskeleton is a network of protein fibers that help with cellular movement and maintaining its structure/shape.

In eukaryotes, there are three types of protein fibers in the cytoskeleton: microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and microtubules. They play a variety of roles in the cell, such as helping with cellular movement and trafficking of material, as well as supporting its shape and structure.

Microfilaments, which are the thinnest part of the cytoskeleton, are used for cellular movement and are used to give shape to the cell and support all of its internal parts.

As their name implies, microtubules are small hollow tubes and are the largest and widest element of the cytoskeleton. They help the cell resist compression, provide a track along which vesicles move through the cell, and pull replicated chromosomes to opposite ends of a dividing cell.

Intermediate filaments have a diameter that is between that of a microfilament and a microtubule. Intermediate filaments contribute to cellular structural elements and are often crucial in holding together tissues like skin.

Key Points

  • In eukaryotes, there are three types of protein fibers in the cytoskeleton: microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and microtubules. They help with cellular movement as well as maintaining its structure.
    • Microfilaments are used for cellular movement and are used to give shape to the cell and support all of its internal parts.
    • Microtubules help cells move material around itself and resist compression
    • Intermediate filaments contribute to cellular structure and are important in holding together tissues.

Key Terms

  • cytoskeleton: network of protein fibers that help with cellular movement and maintaining its structure/shape
  • microfilaments: thin protein fibers used for cellular movement and structural maintenance
  • intermediate filaments: protein fibers that contribute to cellular structural elements and are often crucial in holding together tissues like skin
  • microtubule: small tubes made of protein that help cells move material around itself and resist compression


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