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Cytoskeleton

The cytoskeleton is a network of protein fibres spanning the cytoplasm. It gives cells stability, shape and the ability to move.

In this magnified image of a cell, actin is stained red and microtubules are green.
In this magnified image of a cell, actin is stained red and microtubules are green.

The cytoskeleton anchors organelles in place and aids the multiplication of cells. It is made up of three types of fibres:

Microtubules play a role in cell division and serve as tracks along which organelles can travel.

A lysosome moves along a microtubule to reach a food vacuole.

Intermediate filaments help to anchor some organelles. They are permanent structures, while the other filament types are frequently reassembled.

Actin filaments within the cell give stability. This is particularly important for cells that lack a cell wall. They also play a role in cell movement.

Prokaryotic cells have cytoskeletons made of different types of fibre.