This week, my students are learning about cellular components, and I briefly mentioned about the cytoskeleton not only provides structure for the cell, but also highways for transporting things around the cell.
Fibers that make up the cytoskeleton are “alive.” They build up and break down. Think of highways that are always being built or broken down as needed. There are proteins that ride along the highways (or train track, however you want to think about it), and they can carry vesicles around the cell. Here are some proteins and the cytoskeleton fibers they move on:
- Myosin protein walk on actin filaments the same way that cause muscles to contract. They are also involved in cell division.
- Kinesin and dynein proteins walk on microtubules carrying vesicles up and down the fiber. Kinesin also plays a role in pulling chromosomes to opposite ends in mitosis, and dynein helps to move cilia and flagella.
Study cell biology. Get a masters and Ph.D., and you too can study the fascinating cell!
- 40-minute lecture with cool animation – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBQcGljlpcs
- http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/cells/vesicles/ – scroll to the bottom of the page – has video!
- Wikipedia Motor Proteins – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_protein