Microtubules and their Functions:
What are Microtubules?
Microtubules are elongated unbranched cylindrical tubules of protein, tubulin. They are found in all eukaryotic cells occurring freely in the cytoplasm or forming a part of cilia and flagella.
They have indefinite length, but their diameter is about 25μ. Each microtubule contains a light central core consisting of protein-tubulin but its wall is formed of a number of protofilaments.
Functions of Microtubules:
(1) They form the cytoskeleton of the cell and help in cell shape and mechanical support.
(2) Microtubules of cilia and flagella help in locomotion and feeding.
(3) Microtubules of neuraxis help in the conduction of nerve impulses.
(4) In plant cells, microtubules control the orientation of cellulose microfibrils of the cell wall.
(5) Microtubules of asters and spindle fibres of the mitotic apparatus help in the movement of chromosomes towards opposite poles during cell division.
(6) Microtubules help in the distribution of pigment in chromatophores.
(7) They function as a microcirculatory system of the cells.
(8) These play a vital role during cell differentiation.
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