The cytoskeleton is the structure that maintains a cell’s shape, internal organization, and provides support for essential cellular functions such as movement and division. It spans the cytoplasm and connects the cell nucleus with the extracellular matrix. Three main types of filamentous proteins comprise the cytoskeleton in eukaryotes: Microtubules (tubulin polymer) are the largest filament and are involved in maintaining the structure of the cell, cell division, providing a platform for intracellular transport, and moving various organelles and vesicles. Actin filaments are the smallest and are involved in specialized cell shapes, cytokinesis, and cell movement. There are several types of intermediate filaments (i.e. desmin, lamin, vimentin) but all are strong and involved in mechanical support of cellular structures. Pathologies related to cytoskeletal protein dysfunction include cancer, neurodegeneration, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary fibrosis and cirrhosis.
Ansamitocin causes extensive disassembly of microtubules
Epothilone B induces microtubule polymerization
Disrupts microtubules by binding to β tubulin and inhibiting microtubule dynamics
Lat A inhibits actin polymerization and disrupts microfilament organization
Cytochalasin D is a potent inhibitor of actin polymerization
Completely depolymerizes G-actin via a different mechanism than Cytochalasin D