Aspects of Cell Architecture and Locomotion

  • J. V. Small
  • J. E. Celis
  • G. Isenberg
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 31)


Three morphologically and biochemically distinct filament types may be recognised in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells: actin filaments (or microfilaments), microtubules and 10nm filaments (Fig. 1) Although these filaments were recognised in many electron microscope studies of the last decade it is only relatively recently that their general and coextensive invasion of the cytosol has become apparent. From studies, primarily on cultured cells, by immunofluorescence microscopy and whole mount electron microscopy it has been shown that each filament type forms a characteristic and extensive network within the cell. Under specific conditions the membrane and soluble cellular components may be removed (for example with detergents) leaving the cell nucleus and the filament networks as the sole remaining components. Since the gross cell form is maintained in such preparations (Figs. 3 and 8), the filament systems together have been referred to as the “cytoskeleton”, with the reservation, however, that the individual roles played by the filaments are not solely skeletal. In the present report we shall attempt to review briefly the current status of knowledge concerning the distributions and functions of the individual filament systems confining the survey in the main to cultured cells. Included in this discussion will be the possible mechanisms underlying cell locomotion and changes in the cytoskeleton associated with transformation. Finally, brief mention will also be made of the application of microinjection methods in probing the different functions of the components of the cytoskeleton.


Actin Filament Stress Fibre Tissue Culture Cell Filament Type Cell Locomotion 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. V. Small
    • 1
  • J. E. Celis
    • 2
  • G. Isenberg
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Molecular Biology of the AustrianAcademy of SciencesSalzburgAustria
  2. 2.Dept. of ChemistryAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark
  3. 3.Max-Planck-Institute for PsychiatrieMunichW. Germany

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