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J Cell Biol. 2006 Aug 14;174(4):557-68.

Plectin-controlled keratin cytoarchitecture affects MAP kinases involved in cellular stress response and migration.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Max F. Perutz Laboratories, University of Vienna, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.


Plectin is a major intermediate filament (IF)-based cytolinker protein that stabilizes cells and tissues mechanically, regulates actin filament dynamics, and serves as a scaffolding platform for signaling molecules. In this study, we show that plectin deficiency is a cause of aberrant keratin cytoskeleton organization caused by a lack of orthogonal IF cross-linking. Keratin networks in plectin-deficient cells were more susceptible to osmotic shock-induced retraction from peripheral areas, and their okadaic acid-induced disruption (paralleled by stress-activated MAP kinase p38 activation) proceeded faster. Basal activities of the MAP kinase Erk1/2 and of the membrane-associated upstream protein kinases c-Src and PKCdelta were significantly elevated, and increased migration rates, as assessed by in vitro wound-closure assays and time-lapse microscopy, were observed. Forced expression of RACK1, which is the plectin-binding receptor protein for activated PKCdelta, in wild-type keratinocytes elevated their migration potential close to that of plectin-null cells. These data establish a link between cytolinker-controlled cytoarchitecture/scaffolding functions of keratin IFs and specific MAP kinase cascades mediating distinct cellular responses.

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