Cytoskeleton And Protoplasm: 7 Facts You Should Know

There are a diverse set of organelles present in the cells. Let us check if cytoskeleton and cytoplasm within the protoplasm is same or related to each other.  

Cytoskeleton is the component of networks made of protein filaments as well as tubules within the cytoplasm. Protoplasm is a colourless component of the cell which even includes the cytoplasm.

Let us check through the article the similarities and differences between cytoplasm and cytoskeleton along with the functions, structures and roles of cytoskeleton.

Are cytoskeleton and cytoplasm the same?

There are several interchangeable terms regarding the organelles within the cells. Let us check if cytoskeleton and cytoplasm or protoplasm are the same. 

Cytoplasm and cytoskeleton have not been identified to be the same, instead they both are two different structural components within a cell with different functions to support the activities within a cell. 

How are cytoskeleton and cytoplasm the same?

In case of cytoplasm and cytoskeleton, there are no ways that these two components are the same. Cytoplasm is jelly-like and is thick, whereas cytoskeleton is composed of networks made of protein filaments as well as tubules within the cytoplasm. 

Where is cytoskeleton located in the cytoplasm?

Cytoplasm covers almost all the organelles in the cell, except the nucleus. Let us check where cytoskeletons are located in the cytoplasm. 

Cytoskeletons are identified to be located throughout the cytoplasm in a networking pattern of the protein filaments and tubules which gives a shape to the entire cell. 

Relationship between cytoskeleton and cytoplasm

In order to function effectively, all the organelles within the cells are related with the other. Let us check how cytoskeleton and cytoplasm are related to each other. 

In establishing the relationship between cytoplasm and cytoskeleton, it can be identified that cytoskeleton is located as a part of cytoplasm and extends across it, throughout the cells in order to direct a series of functions. Cytoskeleton helps the cytoplasm in holding various organelle at their places. 

Difference between cytoplasm and cytoskeleton

Cellular organelles have different functions and roles to manage the necessary activities. Let us check the differences between cytoplasm and cytoskeleton. 

There are a series of differences between cytoplasm and cytoskeleton which are listed in a tabular format: 

Factors Cytoplasm  Cytoskeleton 
Definition Cytoplasm is the substance within the cell which lies between the cell membrane and nuclear membrane. It contains components like cytoskeleton, organelles, cytosol and others. Cytoskeleton is present within cytoplasm as a microscopic network made up of protein filaments along with microtubules.
Significance Cytoplasm is a gel-like fluid where all the cellular components other than nucleus are embedded in. Cytoskeleton establishes an interconnected network with the help of protein filaments and microtubules in order to provide the cell shapes. 
CompositionIt contains components like cytoskeleton, organelles, cytosol and water. It is made up of protein filaments along with microtubules and intermediate filaments.
Occurrence Cytoplasm is found to be present in both types of cells, prokaryotes and eukaryotes.Cytoskeleton is present only in eukaryotic cells. 
Function1. Cytoplasm helps in suspending various organelles and provides the appropriate sites for various biochemical reactions.
2. It also helps in maintaining the definite shape required by a cell.
1. Cytoskeleton helps in facilitating the movement of various organelles along with supporting the formation of vesicles.
2. It also helps in maintaining the definite shape required by a cell.
Cytoplasm VS Cytoskeleton

Structure of cytoskeleton in cytoplasm

Each organelle has a definite structure within the cells. Let us check the structure of cytoskeleton within the cytoplasm. 

There are a set of structural components for cytoskeleton, which are as follows: 

1. Microtubules

  • These are small and round structures, which are hollow in nature and have a diameter of around 24 nanometers. These microtubules are further made up of a protein, known as tubulin. 
  • Thirteen of these tubulin structures help in the formation of a single microtubule. These microtubules are highly dynamic structures where they can grow or shrink at a steady rate. 
  • These are helpful in transporting various cellular materials along with dividing chromosomes during the process of cell division.

2. Microfilaments

  • These are thread-like structures which are protein fibres with a diameter of 3-6 nanometer. These are composed of the protein called actin which helps in the contraction of muscles. 
  • Microfilaments are effective in supporting various cellular movements like gliding, contraction and even cytokinesis

3. Intermediate Filaments

  • These are around 10 nanometer in terms of the diameter and support tensile strength within the cell. 
  • These even help in facilitating the formation of keratins as well as neurofilaments.

4. Motor proteins

  • Kinesin is one of the proteins which helps the microtubules in carrying various cell organelles along the cell membrane. 
  • Dyneins is another protein which helps in pulling the cellular organelles towards the nucleus of the cell. 
  • Myosin is another protein which helps in muscle contractions by interacting with actin proteins. It helps in supporting other processes like cytokinesis, endocytosis as well as exocytosis. 
cytoskeleton and cytoplasm
Cytoskeleton from Wikimedia

What is the role of cytoskeleton in the cytoplasm?

Cytoskeleton is an important component within the cell, hence, let us identify various role it plays in the cytoplasm. 

Cytoskeleton has been identified to be extending across the entire cytoplasm to facilitate a number of functions, which are as follows: 

  • It supports the cells to maintain a definite shape and ensures a rigid structure. 
  • It helps in holding various cell organelles at definite positions within the cytoplasm.
  • The formation of vacuoles are assisted by the cytoskeletons. 
  • Cytoskeleton has the ability to disassemble itself and then reassemble, in order to manage the internal as well as overall mobility of the cells. 
  • There are a series of intracellular movements which are supported by the cytoskeleton like the transportation of various vesicles inside the cell or outside of it. Cytoskeleton also helps in chromosome manipulation during the cell division process of mitosis as well as meiosis, along with organelle migration.
  • Cytoskeleton has been helpful in assisting various transportation of communication signals across the cells.
  • Cytoskeletons even engage in forming various cellular appendage-like protrusions, for example cilia or flagella in order to support locomotion of a few cells. 


Thus, it can be stated that cytoskeleton and cytoplasm are two entirely different components within the cells but both help in providing a definite structure to the cells.

Also Read: