Beyond structure: do intermediate filaments modulate cell signalling?

Bioessays. 2002 Sep;24(9):836-44. doi: 10.1002/bies.10140.


Intermediate filament (IF) proteins form the largest family of cytoskeletal proteins in mammalian cells. The function of these proteins has long been thought to be only structural. However, this single function does not explain their diverse tissue- and differentiation-specific expression patterns. Evidence is now emerging that IF also act as an important framework for the modulation and control of essential cell processes, in particular, signal transduction events. Here, we review the most recent developments in this growing and exciting new field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure*
  • Desmin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / chemistry*
  • Keratins / chemistry
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vimentin / metabolism


  • Desmin
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Vimentin
  • Keratins