In order to fully understand the meaning of the term cytoskeleton, it is necessary, first of all, to discover its etymological origin. In this case, we can state that it is a word that derives from Greek as it is the result of the following Greek components:
-The noun “cito”, which is synonymous with “cell”.
-The word “skeletos”, which comes to refer to the “skeleton”, that is, the set of bones in the body of vertebrates that comes to protect internal organs.
According to DigoPaul, the cytoskeleton is a system made up of proteins found in cells that enables cell movement. This framework also contributes to the organization of the cell’s structures, providing support for it to preserve its shape.
Many of the functions of the cell, in fact, are developed thanks to the presence of the cytoskeleton. In addition to mobility it also allows, for example, cell division.
Among the cytoskeletal components of eukaryotic cells we find microtubules, intermediate filaments and microfilaments. The microtubules, which develop in the extent of the cytoplasm, arise by polymerization of tubulin proteins alpha and beta.
Of the microtubules we can highlight another series of aspects of interest such as the following:
-They are tube-shaped and have a size between 20 to 25 millimeters in diameter.
-They perform a fundamental task when it comes to getting the vesicles and organelles to move.
-They come to grow from the centrosome to the periphery of the cell in question.
-What is the external movement of the cell is achieved through flagella and cilia.
The intermediate filaments of the cytoskeleton are considered the most stable elements in the cytoskeleton. Desmin, vimentin and cytokeratin are some of the proteins that compose it. As for microfilaments, they have a pair of actin chains that are linked in a helix.
In the same way, we cannot ignore another series of proteins that come to make up the intermediate filaments. We are referring to some such as nestin, nuclear laminae or glial fibrillary acid protein, which is also known by the name of GFAP.
In addition to these filaments, we can highlight the fact that they have about 10 millimeters in diameter and that they are responsible for giving the cell tension force.
As for the cytoskeleton of prokaryotic cells, it was initially thought that it did not exist. However, structures similar to those of the cytoskeleton in eukaryotic cells were detected over time.
The so-called prokaryotic cytoskeleton, therefore, is made up of the various structural filaments of this cell type. As in eukaryotes, the cytoskeleton is involved in functions such as maintenance of shape and cell division. Crescentin, MreB, and FtsZ are the components of the cytoskeleton in cells of prokaryotic organisms.