Difference Between Cytoplasm and Cytoskeleton


Main Difference

The main difference between cytoplasm and cytoskeleton is that the cytoplasm is the thick, jelly-like fluid in which the cellular components and organelles are embedded in conversely cytoskeleton is a network of protein filaments and tubules in the cytoplasm.

Cytoplasm vs. Cytoskeleton

The cytoplasm is a jelly-like substance in which all the cell organelles embedded in while cytoskeleton is a type of skeleton made of a network of proteins. The composition of cytoplasm is cytosol, different organelles, and cell inclusions whereas cytoskeleton is composed of three types of protein filaments (microfilament, intermediate filament, and microtubules). The cytoplasm is present in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes whereas cytoskeleton is present only in eukaryotes.


Comparison Chart

Substances present between the cell membrane and the nucleus containing the cytosol, organelles, cytoskeleton, and various other particles is known as cytoplasma microscopic network of protein filament and microtubules in the cytoplasm of the living cell is known as the cytoskeleton
The cytoplasm is present in prokaryotes and eukaryotesThe cytoskeleton is only present in eukaryotes
It is composed of cytosol, cell organelles and cell inclusion like granules, glycogens, and pigmentsIt is made of proteins filaments like microfilaments, microtubules, and intermediate filaments
Cytoplasm provides the place for chemical reactions and also help to maintain the cell shapeCytoskeleton helps in the movement of organelles and vesicles

What is Cytoplasm?

The cytoplasm is the jelly-like, translucent material present inside all cells. The cytoplasm is known as cell substance present between the cell membrane and nucleus which contains the cell organelles like Mitochondria, Golgi Apparatus, Endoplasmic Reticulum, Lysosomes, Cytosol, Cytoskeleton, and various particles. The cytoplasm is the part of every cell present in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The inner lining of the cytoplasm is called the endoplasm while the outer area of cytoplasm is known as ectoplasm or cell cortex. Ectoplasm is less concentrated than endoplasm. All the cell components are embedded in the cytoplasm. The cytoplasm is a gel-like, colorless fluid and 80% of it is composed of water. The water in the cytoplasm makes up about two-thirds of the cell’s weight. It provides a place for the cells in which critical chemical reactions take place. It also helps to support the organelles, like the Nucleus and Mitochondria. The cytoplasm is very important for the functioning of both plant and animal cell. The cytoplasm is made of water, salt, and few dissolved nutrients. During any cellular activity, the movement of ions takes place between the cellular cytoplasm and the external cellular fluid.


  • It suspends organelles.
  • It helps to maintain the shape of all cells.
  • It also helps in the movement of nutrients in the cell.
  • It also keeps the organelles apart from each other and prevents them from collapsing.
  • It acts as a shock absorber in case of cell collision.

What is Cytoskeleton?

The cytoskeleton is a network of protein filaments and tubules in the cytoplasm. The cytoskeleton is also known as the skeleton of the cell. The name cytoskeleton was first given by a Russian scientist Nikolai K Koltsov in 1903. The cytoskeleton is an essential component of cytoplasm. The cytoskeleton is composed of mainly three types of proteins like microtubules (tubulin protein), intermediate filaments and microfilaments (actin protein). Microtubules are the thickest fibers while the microfilaments are the thinnest fibers of protein. Microtubules are the hollow cylinder-like and thickest structure of the cytoskeleton. They are composed of alpha and beta tubulin proteins. They help to hold the organelles in place. They also help in cell division. Cilia and flagella are also made of microtubules. Intermediate filaments vary in makeup from one cell to another cell. It is composed of keratin protein. It gives the cell strength and organizes the cell structure by holding cell organelles. Microfilaments are composed of two thin actin chains that are twisted around each other. It supports the cell and maintains the cell shape. They are present in almost all cells and are many in muscles cell.


  • The cytoskeleton maintains the cell shape.
  • It also plays an essential role in the intercellular movement of different substances.
  • It also helps in cell division.
  • It enables the movement of substances inside the cell and outside the cell.
  • It also facilitates the formation of vacuoles.
  • It also helps in motility.

Key Differences

  1. The cytoplasm is a jelly-like substance while cytoskeleton is a skeleton made of proteins and tubules.
  2. Cell organelles are embedded in the cytoplasm while cytoskeleton is present in the cytoplasm.
  3. Both the Prokaryotic and eukaryotic animals contain cytoplasm while cytoskeleton is present only in eukaryotes.


The conclusion of this article is that cytoplasm is a jelly-like and translucent material present in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes in which different cell organelles are embedded in on the other hand cytoskeleton is a network of different proteins and tubules present only in eukaryotes. Both the cytoskeleton and cytoplasm gives help in the movement of nutrients and substances and cell shape.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White