The cytoskeleton is a dynamic network of filamentous elements that is present in all eukaryotic cells. Cytoskeletal polymers, microtubules, actin microfilaments and intermediate filaments, are derived from 3 ancient classes of proteins. The filament systems often interact or cooperate to achieve a specific cellular function and often respond to intracellular and external stimuli.
The cytoskeleton is essential for a multitude of cellular processes, including cell locomotion, morphogenesis, mitosis and cytokinesis. Assembly/disassembly properties and the supramolecular organization of cytoskeletal networks are highly-regulated by accessory proteins. Researchers who examine the function of the cytoskeleton in fundamental cellular processes use a variety of techniques and approaches, including light and electron microscopy, biochemistry, subcellular fractionation and molecular genetics.
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