If you were to remove all the organelles from a cell, would the plasma membrane and the cytoplasm be the only contents left? No. In ~ the cytoplasm, there would still be ions and also organic molecules, add to a network the protein fibers that assist maintain the form of the cell, secure some organelles in specific positions, permit cytoplasm and also vesicles to relocate within the cell, and enable cells within multicell organisms come move. Collectively, this network of protein yarn is recognized as the cytoskeleton. There room three types of fibers in ~ the cytoskeleton: microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and also microtubules (Figure). Here, we will study each.

You are watching: Which type of cytoskeleton fiber anchors organelles?

Microfilaments thicken the cortex approximately the inner sheet of a cell; prefer rubber bands, they resist tension. Microtubules are found in the interior of the cell wherein they maintain cell form by resisting compressive forces. Intermediate filaments are uncovered throughout the cell and also hold organelles in place.Microfilaments

Of the three species of protein yarn in the cytoskeleton, microfilaments space the narrowest. They function in moving movement, have actually a diameter of around 7 nm, and also are make of two linked strands that a globular protein dubbed actin (Figure). For this reason, microfilaments are likewise known together actin filaments.

Microfilaments space made that two linked strands the actin.

Actin is it is provided by ATP to rally its filamentous form, which serves together a track because that the activity of a motor protein referred to as myosin. This enables actin to engage in cellular events requiring motion, such together cell department in animal cells and cytoplasmic streaming, i m sorry is the circular motion of the cell cytoplasm in tree cells. Actin and myosin are abundant in muscle cells. As soon as your actin and myosin filaments slide past each other, her muscles contract.

Microfilaments also carry out some rigidity and shape come the cell. They have the right to depolymerize (disassemble) and reform quickly, thus allowing a cabinet to change its shape and move. White blood cell (your body’s infection-fighting cells) make an excellent use that this ability. They can move to the site of an infection and also phagocytize the pathogen.

Link to Learning


To see an example of a white blood cell in action, watch a short time-lapse video of the cell catching two bacteria. That engulfs one and then moves on come the other.

Intermediate Filaments

Intermediate filaments space made of numerous strands of fibrous protein that room wound with each other (Figure). These elements of the cytoskeleton gain their surname from the truth that their diameter, 8 to 10 nm, is in between those that microfilaments and also microtubules.

Intermediate filaments consist of several linked strands that fibrous proteins.

Intermediate filaments have no function in cabinet movement. Their duty is purely structural. They be affected by each other tension, hence maintaining the shape of the cell, and anchor the nucleus and other oribelles in place. Number shows exactly how intermediate filaments create a donate scaffolding inside the cell.

The intermediate filaments space the most varied group the cytoskeletal elements. Several varieties of fibrous protein are uncovered in the intermediate filaments. You are more than likely most familiar with keratin, the fibrous protein the strengthens her hair, nails, and the epidermis of the skin.


As their surname implies, microtubules are tiny hollow tubes. The wall surfaces of the microtubule space made of polymerized dimers the α-tubulin and β-tubulin, two globular proteins (Figure). Through a diameter of about 25 nm, microtubules are the widest materials of the cytoskeleton. They assist the cell stand up to compression, carry out a track follow me which vesicles move through the cell, and pull replicated chromosomes to opposite end of a dividing cell. Choose microfilaments, microtubules can dissolve and also reform quickly.

Microtubules room hollow. Their wall surfaces consist of 13 polymerized dimers of α-tubulin and also β-tubulin (right image). The left image shows the molecular framework of the tube.

Microtubules are likewise the structural facets of flagella, cilia, and also centrioles (the latter are the 2 perpendicular bodies of the centrosome). In fact, in animal cells, the centrosome is the microtubule-organizing center. In eukaryotic bio cells, flagella and also cilia room quite various structurally from your counterparts in prokaryotes, as debated below.

Flagella and also Cilia

To refresh her memory, flagella (singular = flagellum) are long, hair-like structures that extend from the plasma membrane and are provided to move whole cell (for example, sperm, Euglena). As soon as present, the cell has actually just one flagellum or a couple of flagella. Whencilia (singular = cilium) room present, however, plenty of of them expand along the whole surface of the plasma membrane. They space short, hair-like structures that are used to move entire cells (such as paramecia) or substances along the outer surface that the cabinet (for example, the cilia of cells lining the Fallopian tube that move the ovum toward the uterus, or cilia lining the cell of the respiratory tract that trap particulate matter and also move it towards your nostrils.)

Despite their differences in length and number, flagella and also cilia re-superstructure a usual structural plan of microtubules dubbed a “9 + 2 array.” This is an suitable name due to the fact that a single flagellum or cilium is make of a ring of nine microtubule doublets, surrounding a solitary microtubule double in the center (Figure).

This transmission electron micrograph of 2 flagella shows the 9 + 2 range of microtubules: ripe microtubule doublets surround a single microtubule doublet. (credit: change of work-related by Dartmouth Electron microscopic lense Facility, Dartmouth College; scale-bar data native Matt Russell)

You have actually now completed a vast survey the the components of prokaryotic and also eukaryotic cells. Because that a summary of cellular materials in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, view Table.

Components the Prokaryotic and also Eukaryotic CellsCell ComponentFunctionPresent in Prokaryotes?Present in animal Cells?Present in tree Cells?
Plasma membraneSeparates cell from external environment; controls i of necessary molecules, ions, water, oxygen, and wastes into and out the cellYesYesYes
CytoplasmProvides turgor push to tree cells as fluid inside the central vacuole; site of many metabolic reactions; tool in i m sorry organelles are foundYesYesYes
NucleolusDarkened area within the nucleus wherein ribosomal subunits are synthesized.NoYesYes
NucleusCell organelle that residences DNA and directs synthesis of ribosomes and also proteinsNoYesYes
RibosomesProtein synthesisYesYesYes
MitochondriaATP production/cellular respirationNoYesYes
PeroxisomesOxidizes and also thus breaks under fatty acids and amino acids, and also detoxifies poisonsNoYesYes
Vesicles and also vacuolesStorage and also transport; digestive role in plant cellsNoYesYes
CentrosomeUnspecified function in cell department in pet cells; resource of microtubules in animal cellsNoYesNo
LysosomesDigestion that macromolecules; recycling that worn-out organellesNoYesNo
Cell wallProtection, structural support and maintenance of cabinet shapeYes, primarily peptidoglycanNoYes, generally cellulose
Endoplasmic reticulumModifies proteins and also synthesizes lipidsNoYesYes
Golgi apparatusModifies, sorts, tags, packages, and also distributes lipids and proteinsNoYesYes
CytoskeletonMaintains cell’s shape, secures oribelles in particular positions, allows cytoplasm and also vesicles to move within cell, and allows unicellular organisms to move independentlyYesYesYes
FlagellaCellular locomotionSomeSomeNo, other than for part plant sperm cells.

See more: Where Does Pink Milk Come From, Why A Hippo'S Milk Is Pink

CiliaCellular locomotion, activity of particles follow me extracellular surface ar of plasma membrane, and also filtrationSomeSomeNo
Section Summary

The cytoskeleton has actually three different species of protein elements. Indigenous narrowest come widest, they are the microfilaments (actin filaments), intermediate filaments, and microtubules. Microfilaments space often linked with myosin. They provide rigidity and shape come the cell and also facilitate cellular movements. Intermediary filaments bear tension and anchor the nucleus and also other oribel in place. Microtubules aid the cell resist compression, offer as tracks because that motor proteins that relocate vesicles through the cell, and pull replicated chromosomes come opposite ends of a splitting cell. Castle are likewise the structural aspect of centrioles, flagella, and also cilia.