Do Eukaryotic Cells Have Cytoskeleton:5 Facts You Should Know

All eukaryotic cells such as; animals, fungi, protists, and plants are known to have a cytoskeleton. Let’s enhance our knowledge of eukaryotic cytoskeleton by exploring interesting facts about cytoskeleton and their role in eukaryotes.

The cytoskeleton provides structural stability to a eukaryotic cell. The article “Do Eukaryotic Cells Have Cytoskeleton:5 Facts You Should Know” will aid in a comprehensive understanding of the structural organization and function of the eukaryotic cytoskeleton.

Facts to know about eukaryotic cytoskeleton:

  • The term ‘cytoskeleton’ was coined in 1903 by Nikolai K. Koltsov.
  • Microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and microtubules form a complex network in the cytoskeleton.
  • Cytoskeleton aids in retaining cell shape under external mechanical pressure.
  • The cytoskeleton plays an important role in endocytosis.
  • The cytoskeleton is present in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes.
  • The different components of the cytoskeleton help in muscle contraction.
  • Keratin intermediate filaments present in the skin resist mechanical stress.

Do all eukaryotic cells have a cytoskeleton?

All eukaryotic cells have a cytoskeleton. All eukaryotic organisms are known to have a cytoskeleton.

Why do eukaryotic cells need a cytoskeleton?

Eukaryotic cells need a cytoskeleton to maintain their structural integrity of a cell. Cytoskeletonaids in maintaining the original cell shape by resisting deformation under external mechanical pressure.  However, the cytoskeleton can also contribute to cell migration by contracting the cells. Moreover, the cytoskeleton plays a significant role in intercell communication by getting involved in various cell signaling pathways.

The cytoskeleton provides uptake of extracellular material via endocytosis and participates in cellular division by segregating the chromosomes. Interestingly, the cytoskeleton can be used as a template for cell wall construction. Also, the different components of the cytoskeleton help in muscle contraction.

Structure of cytoskeleton in eukaryotic cells.

Microfilaments, intermediate filaments and microtubules forms a complex network in eukaryotic cytoskeleton.

G-actin proteins present in microfilaments are also known as actin filaments. Actin proteins are the major components of microfilaments. The G-actin proteins combine to form polymers. Two polymer chains intertwine to form F-actin chains. These actin structures are regulated by GTP-binding proteins of the Rho family.  

In many cell types, actin filaments participate in cell movement and cytokinesis. Actin filaments are arranged as a meshwork of membrane-associated proteins. These proteins found beneath the cell cortex aid in strengthening the plasma membrane. This specific arrangement allows the cells to maintain specialized shapes. Microvilli found in the small intestine is an example of such an arrangement.

do eukaryotic cells have cytoskeleton
Cytoskeleton from Wikimedia

Unlike microfilaments, intermediate filaments are more strongly bound and are 10 nanometers in diameter. Like actin filaments, intermediate filaments also contribute to intercell communications. Keratin intermediate filaments present in the skin resist mechanical stress. Also, intermediate filaments aid in preventing cell death or apoptosis.

The protein subunits forming the intermediate filaments vary across the different cell types. In neurons, neurofilaments are found, in muscle cells desmin filaments are located, and in epithelial cells keratins are found. Vimentin filaments present in a wide range of cell types coexist with microtubules.

Mutations in the intermediate filament proteins are reported to be associated with premature aging and muscular dystrophy. They provide a support system to the cell by facilitating cell-to-cell communications.

The third component of the cytoskeleton is microtubules which are hollow cylindrical structures about 23 nm in diameter.

Intermediate filaments execute dynamic behavior and bind GTP for polymerization. They are commonly organized by the centrosome. Flagella and cilia are regulated by microtubules. Microtubules are arranged as a 9+2 arrangement. These arrangements are connected to each other by dynein protein. Motile and non-motile cilia are the two types of cilia. Flagella are bigger in size and less in number as compared to cilia.


From this article, we can conclude that the cytoskeleton plays a crucial role in maintaining cell shape and integrity.

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