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Cytoplasm and Cytoskeletons

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The Cytoplasm

Does a cell have, or even need, a "skeleton"?

What do you get if you take some tubing, and make the tubes smaller and smaller and smaller? You get very small tubes, or microtubes. Very small tubes, or microtubules, together with microfilaments, form the basis of the "skeleton" inside the cell.

The Cytoplasm 

The cytoplasm consists of everything inside the plasma membrane of the cell, excluding the nucleus in an eukaryotic cell. It includes the watery, gel-like material called cytosol , as well as various structures. The water in the cytoplasm makes up about two thirds of the cell’s weight and gives the cell many of its properties.

Functions of the Cytoplasm

The cytoplasm has several important functions, including:

  1. suspending cell organelles.
  2. pushing against the plasma membrane to help the cell keep its shape.
  3. providing a site for many of the biochemical reactions of the cell.


  • The cytoplasm consists of everything inside the plasma membrane of the cell

Use this resource to answer the questions that follow.

  1. Identify the roles of the cytoskeleton.
  2. Describe the structure and functions of microtubules.
  3. What is a centrosome?
  4. What are the subunits that make up microfilaments?
  5. What is the nuclear lamina?
  6. What is the primary component of cilia and flagella?
  7. What is the goal of cytoplasmic streaming?


1. What is the difference between cytoplasm and cytosol?

2. List two roles of the cytoplasm.

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