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Dictionary > Cell structure > Cytoskeleton (intermediate filaments)

Staining of intermediate filaments in human cell line RT4 (HPA000453)
Scale bar represents 5µm

Cytoskeleton (intermediate filaments)

Intermediate filaments have a twisted, rope-like structure that supports the cell structure. Cells that are subject to mechanical stress, such as hair and skin cells, often contain more intermediate filaments. Intermediate filaments are found both in the cytosol as well as attached to the inner side of the nuclear membrane. The cytosolic intermediate filaments are assigned to support and hold organelles in place. The nuclear laminas, which are attached to the inner nuclear membrane, support the membrane and provide anchorage sites for nuclear structures such as chromosomes and nuclear pores. Intermediate filaments are also involved in cell-cell contact, holding sheets of epithelial cells together via cell-cell (desmosome) junctions.

Immunofluorescent staining

Immunofluorescent staining of intermediate filaments can vary quite a lot. The filaments are usually at least partly located close to the nucleus, but may stretch throughout the cell. Common for most stainings is that the filaments exhibit a somewhat tangled structure with strands crossing every so often.

Examples IF

Example 1
Example 2
Example 3

Examples IH

Example 4