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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2015 Feb;32:82-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2015.01.001. Epub 2015 Jan 23.

Intermediate filament mechanics in vitro and in the cell: from coiled coils to filaments, fibers and networks.

Author information

1
Institute for X-ray Physics, Georg August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany. Electronic address: sarah.koester@phys.uni-goettingen.de.
2
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA.
3
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, USA.
4
Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
5
B065 Functional Architecture of the Cell, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address: h.herrmann@dkfz.de.

Abstract

Intermediate filament proteins form filaments, fibers and networks both in the cytoplasm and the nucleus of metazoan cells. Their general structural building plan accommodates highly varying amino acid sequences to yield extended dimeric α-helical coiled coils of highly conserved design. These 'rod' particles are the basic building blocks of intrinsically flexible, filamentous structures that are able to resist high mechanical stresses, that is, bending and stretching to a considerable degree, both in vitro and in the cell. Biophysical and computer modeling studies are beginning to unfold detailed structural and mechanical insights into these major supramolecular assemblies of cell architecture, not only in the 'test tube' but also in the cellular and tissue context.

PMID:
25621895
PMCID:
PMC4355244
DOI:
10.1016/j.ceb.2015.01.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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