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Any of a group of protein filaments that are a component of the cytoskeleton in animal cells, are composed of a variety of proteins such as lamins and keratins, and provide structural support for the cytoplasm and nucleus. Intermediate filaments are intermediate in diameter between microfilaments and microtubules, the other components of the cytoskeleton.
intermediate filamentAbbreviation: IF
Slender proteins found in all eukaryotic cells, measuring about 8 to 12 nm in diameter. Intermediate filaments are composed of proteins including desmin, keratins, lamins, and vimentin and together with microtubules and microfilaments form the cytoskeleton. Some malignant cells can be identified by the specific proteins in their intermediate filaments.
See also: filament