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Trends Cell Biol. 1993 Nov;3(11):377-80.

Microtubules, centrosomes and intermediate filaments in directed cell movement.

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Institute for Cell Biology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Schillerstrabetae 42, 80 336 Munich, Germany.


Cell movement involves the coordinated interaction of probably hundreds of components. The contractile apparatus based on actin, myosin and their associated proteins is involved in cell protrusion and force generation. Microtubules and intermediate filaments affect the distribution of membranous organelles and are also believed to determine cell shape and cell polarity. This review examines the way in which the distinct polarity of moving cells is influenced by microtubules, the microtubule-organizing centre and intermediate filaments. The observations summarized here suggest a broad spectrum of cell-type-specific differences in how these cytoskeletal components contribute to directional cell movement.

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