The shape of a cell is stabilised by a protein scaffold, known as the cell skeleton. We distinguish

(7 – 9 nm diameter) consists of actin and is responsible for

  • cytokinesis, the separation of daughter cells after mitosis

  • muscle contraction

  • cell shape

intermediate filament

(10 nm diameter), consists of keratins (in epithelial cells) or vimentin and is responsible for

  • stability of the cell against mechanical forces

  • growth of nerve axons


(24 nm diameter), consists of tubulin and is responsible for

  • orientation of chromosomes in the equatorial plane during metaphase and their separation into the daughter cells during anaphase of mitosis

  • intracellular traffic

  • cell motility either by cilia or by crawling

  • organisation of the cell wall in plants and yeasts

These principal components of the cell skeleton are linked to each other and to other cell structures by hundreds of accessory proteins. Together, cell skeleton proteins form contacts to other cells and define cell polarity.


Actin Filament Intermediate Filament Acrosome Reaction Actin Bundle Actin Depolymerising Factor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Engelbert Buxbaum
    • 1
  1. 1.KevelaerGermany

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