"Some argue that cytoskeleton is like a network of muscles tendons and ligaments without bones. Where are the compression elements? Cell shape in tissue depends on the ability of ECM anchoring to withstand compression, but it only helps the internal compression struts to refine cell shape. This situation reminds a camp tent. Surface membrane is made stiff by placing it under tension. It can be accomplished by various means: pushing up tend poles. Pulling membrane against fixed tent pegs in the ground and/or tethering the membrane to an overlying tree branch. The last action is complementary to the first one. If you disrupt the microtubules (tent poles), their function is transferred to the cell adhesive anchors (tree branches). If tension elements are chemically disrupted (microfilaments or intermediate filaments) cell tractional forces exerted on ECM adhesion decrease. The ability of individual microtubules to resist buckling when compressed is greatly enhanced by presence of lateral tensile connections."
The famous neuroscientist C.S. Sherrington observed the cytoskeleton may act as the nervous system of
single cell organisms. Synaptic connections are formed and regulated by cytoskeletal polymers,including microtubules.
Penrose and Hameroff speculated that the cytoskeleton is like a micro myofascial system, within each cell. This micro myofascial system is made up of a skeleton of tubules filled with fluid and surrounded and interconnected from cell to cell by a viscous ground substance
"The cytoskeleton is like a bra because it provides support."
"The cytoskeleton is like the frame of the roller coaster."
"The cytoskeleton is like the wood frame of a house," she says. "It gives the cell structural integrity. The cytoskeleton is very much involved with anything to do with cell movement. The aberrant cell movement involved in cancer integrally involves the cytoskeleton, and makes it a very good target for many anti-cancer drugs, because you can stop the movement."
"An equivalent analogy would be that the cytoskeleton is like a slowly-flowing two-dimensional glass, which cannot hold any shear elastic energy indefinitely. However, if fast deformation is imposed, it can manifest a large instantaneous shear modulus. This happens if the imposed deformation rate far exceeds the cytoskeleton remodeling rate, which theoretically should proceed (albeit very slowly) in the direction of relaxing the in-plane shear elastic energy according to the thermodynamic principle of maximum dissipation."
"A cytoskeleton is like a factory building that has strong beams and columns that hold up its walls and roof."
But it's not rigid like the frame of a house or building. It is made of long flexible molecules that can bend and
twist if the cell is compressed or sheared.
It helps move things around in the cell.
METAMIA is a free database of analogy and metaphor. Anyone can contribute or search. The subject matter can be anything. Science is popular, but poetry is encouraged. The goal is to integrate our fluid muses with the stark literalism of a relational database. Metamia is like a girdle for your muses, a cognitive girdle.