Intermediate Filaments

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This illustration shows 10 intermediate filament fibers bundled together.
Intermediate filaments consist of several intertwined strands of fibrous proteins.

Source: OpenStax Biology 2e

OpenStax Biology 2e

Several strands of fibrous proteins that are wound together comprise intermediate filaments. Cytoskeleton elements get their name from the fact that their diameter, 8 to 10 nm, is between those of microfilaments and microtubules.

Intermediate filaments have no role in cell movement. Their function is purely structural. They bear tension, thus maintaining the cell’s shape, and anchor the nucleus and other organelles in place.

The intermediate filaments are the most diverse group of cytoskeletal elements. Several fibrous protein types are in the intermediate filaments. You are probably most familiar with keratin, the fibrous protein that strengthens your hair, nails, and the skin’s epidermis.

– What is a complex, dynamic network of interlinking protein filaments present in the cytoplasm of all cells, including bacteria and archaea?

Intermediate filaments were originally named because with diameters between 8 and 10 nm, they are intermediate in size between the microtubules (at 25 nm) and the microfilaments at 7 nm.

Source:

Clark, M., Douglas, M., Choi, J. Biology 2e. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: https://openstax.org/details/books/biology-2e

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytoskeleton

https://www.sciencedirect.com/book/9780128008836/quantitative-human-physiology


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