Immerse yourself in the cytoskeleton

The human body consists of around 30 trillion cells – all of them highly complex structures with a wide variety of shapes and functions. What they all have in common is the cytoskeleton.
(Image: Paul Scherrer Institute/Benjamin A. Senn and Mahir Dzambegovic)

The name skeleton seems misleading – since the cytoskeleton is in fact not a rigid framework but rather a very dynamic structure. It not only ensures the cell’s mechanical stabilisation and external shape, but also plays a central role in transport within the cell as well as in cell division.

Of particular importance for cell division are the so-called microtubules. These tubular protein complexes are a significant component of the cytoskeleton. However, it is not only the healthy cells that they help to multiply; cancer cells and pathogens, for example, are also able to divide with the aid of the microtubules.

For this reason, researchers at PSI are using the large research facilities to find docking sites for new drugs. This could make it possible, for example, block the degradation of microtubules and prevent the division of diseased cells.

Immerse yourself with us in the world of cells and find out what functions the cytoskeleton performs and how investigating it could enable the development of highly effective drugs.(Video: Paul Scherrer Institute/Benjamin A. Senn and Mahir Dzambegovic)

You can find out more about this topic in the issue of our magazine 5232 issue 3/2023.

Text: Paul Scherrer Institute/Benjamin A. Senn