"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."
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