Cytoskeleton and Extracellular Matrix

The cytoskeleton functions as the cellular scaffold or framework within a cell. Present in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, the cytoskeleton plays important roles in both cellular transport and cell division. In addition to purified cytoskeletal elements, Sigma offers a vast array of antibodies, proteins, and chemical inhibitors that modulate the function of the cytoskeleton. These products allow researchers to tease apart the interactions between microfilaments such as actin, intermediate filaments like vimentin, and microtubules; all of which impact cell division, motility, and health.

Many of the cytoskeletal proteins found within the cell interact with extracellular matrix proteins. These proteins primarily function as a substrate for cellular adhesion, but also serve other functions by promoting cell signaling and differentiation. The most common components of the extracellular matrix have been purified to various degrees and made available by Sigma. These products can be used to coat plates to assist in cell adhesion or to study the complex dynamics involved in intercellular communication. Molecules such as collagen, laminin, fibronectin, and various proteoglycans are all part of the extracellular matrix. Many of these components are secreted by the cell in response to stress on the cytoskeleton. The interaction between the cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix is important in wound healing, connective tissue development, tumor growth (metastasis), and fibrosis.