Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab


  • Francisco RiveroEmail author
  • Huajiang Xiong
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_1491-9


The cytoskeleton is a complex network of interconnected filaments and tubules that extends mainly throughout the cytosol, reaching from the nuclear envelope to the inner surface of the plasma membrane. It gives shape to the cell, mediates anchoring to the substrate and to other cells, facilitates cell movements and movement of organelles, and is necessary for cell division. Although mainly cytosolic, some cytoskeleton components play roles within the nucleus.

Typical eukaryotic cells possess three cytoskeleton systems (Fig. 1) that can be distinguished on the basis of their diameter: microfilaments (MFs) (or actin filaments), intermediate filaments (IFs), and microtubules (MTs).


Actin Filament Familial Mediterranean Fever Primary Cilium Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma Thick Filament 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Cardiovascular and Metabolic ResearchThe Hull York Medical School, University of HullHullUK
  2. 2.Department of Zoophysiology, Zoological InstituteChristian-Albrechts-University of KielKielGermany