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EMBO J. 1982;1(11):1365-72.

Disruption of the keratin filament network during epithelial cell division.


The behaviour of keratin filaments during cell division was examined in a wide range of epithelial lines from several species. Almost half of them show keratin disruption as described previously: by immunofluorescence, filaments are replaced during mitosis by a 'speckled' pattern of discrete cytoplasmic dots. In the electron microscope these ' speckles ' are seen as granules around the cell periphery, just below the actin cortical mesh, with no detectable 10 nm filament structure inside them and no keratin filament bundles in the rest of the cytoplasm. A time course of the filament reorganization was constructed from double immunofluorescence data; filaments are disrupted in prophase, and the filament network is intact again by cytokinesis. The phenomenon is restricted to cells rich in keratin filaments, such as keratinocytes; it is unrelated to the co-existence of vimentin in many of these cells, and vimentin is generally maintained as filaments while the keratin is restructured. Some resistance to the effect may be conferred by an extended cycle time. Filament reorganization takes place within minutes, so that a reversible mechanism seems more likely than one involving de novo protein synthesis, at this metabolically quiet stage of the cell cycle.

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