Novel functions of vimentin in cell adhesion, migration, and signaling

Exp Cell Res. 2007 Jun 10;313(10):2050-62. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2007.03.040. Epub 2007 Apr 14.


Vimentin is the major intermediate filament (IF) protein of mesenchymal cells. It shows dynamically altered expression patterns during different developmental stages and high sequence homology throughout all vertebrates, suggesting that the protein is physiologically important. Still, until recently, the real tasks of vimentin have been elusive, primarily because the vimentin-deficient mice were originally characterized as having a very mild phenotype. Recent studies have revealed several key functions for vimentin that were not obvious at first sight. Vimentin emerges as an organizer of a number of critical proteins involved in attachment, migration, and cell signaling. The highly dynamic and complex phosphorylation of vimentin seems to be a likely regulator mechanism for these functions. The implicated novel vimentin functions have broad ramifications into many different aspects of cell physiology, cellular interactions, and organ homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Cell Membrane Structures / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane Structures / ultrastructure
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Junctions / metabolism
  • Intercellular Junctions / ultrastructure
  • Intermediate Filaments / metabolism*
  • Intermediate Filaments / ultrastructure
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Vimentin / physiology*


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Vimentin