Knowledge Base


The major cytoskeletal protein of most cells is actin, which polymerizes to form actin filaments—thin, flexible fibers approximately 7 nm in diameter and up to several micrometers in length. Within the cell, actin filaments (also called microfilaments) are organized into higher-order structures, forming bundles or three-dimensional networks with the properties of semisolid gels. Actin filaments are particularly abundant beneath the plasma membrane, where they form a network that provides mechanical support, determines cell shape, and allows movement of the cell surface, thereby enabling cells to migrate, engulf particles, and divide.