The cell has its own bones and muscles called the cytoskeleton. This cytoskeleton has 3 major components: microfilaments, intermediate filaments and microtubules.
These major components are usually associated with other proteins. The association enables them to do several functions like formation of scaffolding inside the cell, ciliary or flagellar movement on the cell surface and internal cell movements like chromosomal movement during mitosis.
A summary of the functions of the cytoskeleton is shown in the table below.
Microfilaments Intermediate Filaments Microtubules
Muscle contraction Support and tensile strength Cell motility
(cilia and flagella)
Amoeboid movement Maintenance of cell shape Chromosome movement
Cell locomotion Formation of nuclear lamina Movement of
and scaffolding organelles
Cytoplasmic streaming Strengthening of nerve cell axons Determination of cell shape
Cell division (cytokinesis) Keeping muscle fibers in Maintenance of cell
Maintenance of cell shape
I will talk about each of these functions in a future post.