Intermediate filaments: a dynamic network that controls cell mechanics.

Date Published:



In humans the superfamily of intermediate filament (IF) proteins is encoded by more than 70 different genes, which are expressed in a cell- and tissue-specific manner. IFs assemble into approximately 10 nm-wide filaments that account for the principal structural elements at the nuclear periphery, nucleoplasm, and cytoplasm. They are also required for organizing the microtubule and microfilament networks. In this review, we focus on the dynamics of IFs and how modifications regulate it. We also discuss the role of nuclear IF organization in determining nuclear mechanics as well as that of cytoplasmic IFs organization in maintaining cell stiffness, formation of lamellipodia, regulation of cell migration, and permitting cell adhesion.