Cell Matrix: Definition, Types, & Examples

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Cell Matrix Definition

Within the cell cytoplasm is the gel like substance called the cell matrix. The cell matrix is quite flexible and elastic as it can shift from gel to fluid and vice-versa.

What is Cell Matrix?

The basic and fundamental unit of an organism is the cell. Surrounding the cell is a wall or a structure, which consist of protoplasm, which is cell content and is liquidly in nature. In few cases, cytoplasm and protoplasm are used in conjunction. Thus, actually the protoplasm comprises of the nucleoplasm and cytoplasm, where the materials present between the cell membrane and nuclear envelope is the cytoplasm. Cytosol is the liquid content of cytoplasm, which is present around the organelles. Thus, the cytosol is also known as the cell matrix or cytoplasmic matrix.

Cell Matrix Components

Cell matrix possess cytoskeleton, which are further of three types. The intermediate filaments, actin microfilaments and microtubules, which are in conjunction with various proteins. Microfilaments are helical in structure, comprising of G-actin subunits, having a diameter of 7nm. The function of microfilament is to provide support and structure, and are present below the cell membrane and carrying out the function.

The attachment of cytoplasmic proteins to their receptors is also done by them, where they act as cell junction. During mitosis, the separation of centrosome to the opposite ends is also favored by them and during cytokinesis the shrinking of cell, is also taken care by microfilaments. The movement of cell is also regulated by them. For the contraction to occur, it comes in contact with the myosin, of muscle fibers.

Another cytoskeleton is the microtubule, which are also known as the cytoplasmic tubules and which are the part of the flagella, cilia and cytoskeleton. The composition of microtubules consists of alpha and beta tubulin dimers, which have a length of 200nm- 25µm, with a diameter of 25nm and 5nm in thickness. The arrangement of polarity of microtubule is done by basal bodies and centrioles.

Transportation, movement and maintaining the shape are the functions of microtubules, along with the formation of spindle fibers, which results in spindle apparatus formation, where the chromosomes moves apart from each other. There are three further classification of microtubules, kinetochore microtubule, astral microtubule and polar microtubule.

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