What are the functions of actin filaments?
Posted November 21, 2022
Actin filaments, also known as microfilaments, are the smallest protein fiber in the cytoskeleton, measuring about 7 nm in diameter. They are especially abundant just below the plasma membrane, where they form an extensive network that performs several crucial functions including:
- Forming a dynamic cytoskeleton that provides cells with structural support
- Determining cell shape
- Enabling and supporting cell motility, such as through the formation and function of Lamellipodia or Filopodia
- Linking the cell’s interior to its surroundings
- Facilitating movement of the cell surface, allowing cells to migrate, engulf particles and divide
- Supporting muscle contraction in muscle cells
In addition, motor proteins use actin cables as pathways to transport intracellular organelles to the daughter cells during mitosis.
Cell Structures and Organelles