Biology

Difference Between Intermediate Filaments and Microfilaments

Intermediate Filaments vs Microfilaments

Summary: Difference Between Intermediate Filaments and Microfilaments is that Intermediate filaments are the structures that form a network around the nucleus and extend to the periphery of the cell. While Microfilaments are long and fine thread­like structures with a diameter of about 3 to 6 nm. These filaments are made up of non-tubular contractile proteins called actin and myosin.

Difference Between Intermediate Filaments and Microfilaments

Intermediate Filaments

Intermediate filaments are the structures that form a network around the nucleus and extend to the periphery of the cell. Diameter of each filament is about 10 nm. The intermediate filaments are formed by rope­like polymers, which are made up of fibrous proteins.

Subclasses of intermediate filaments

Intermediate filaments are divided into five subclasses:

  1. Keratins (in epithelial cells)
  2. Glial filaments (in astrocytes)
  3. Neurofilaments (in nerve cells)
  4. Vimentin (in many types of cells)
  5. Desmin (in muscle fibers).

Functions of intermediate filaments

Intermediate filaments help to maintain the shape of the cell. These filaments also connect the adjacent cells through desmosomes.

Microfilaments

Microfilaments are long and fine thread­like structures with a diameter of about 3 to 6 nm. These filaments are made up of non-tubular contractile proteins called actin and myosin. Actin is more abundant than myosin. Microfilaments are present throughout the cytoplasm. The microfilaments present in ectoplasm contain only actin molecules and those present in endoplasm contain both actin and myosin molecules.

Functions of microfilaments

Microfilaments:

  1. Give structural strength to the cell
  2. Provide resistance to the cell against the pulling forces
  3. Are responsible for cellular movements like contraction, gliding and cytokinesis (partition of cytoplasm during cell division).

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