Coalignment of vimentin intermediate filaments with microtubules depends on kinesin

Nature. 1991 Oct 3;353(6343):445-8. doi: 10.1038/353445a0.


Intermediate filaments in most types of cultured cells coalign with microtubules. Depolymerization of microtubules results in collapse of vimentin and desmin intermediate filaments to the nucleus where they form a perinuclear cap. Collapse can also be induced by microinjection of antibodies against intermediate filament or microtubule proteins. Thus, two filament systems interact with each other. But the molecules mediating this interaction are unknown. One of the candidates for this role is a microtubule motor kinesin. Recent data showed that kinesin is involved in the plus end-directed movement of the membranous organelles along microtubules such as radial extension of lysosomes in macrophages and centrifugal movement of pigment in melanophores. Here we report that injection of the anti-kinesin antibody into human fibroblasts results in the redistribution of intermediate filaments to a tight perinuclear aggregate but had no effect on the distribution of microtubules. Thus, kinesin is involved not only in organelle movement but also in interaction of the two major cytoskeletal systems, intermediate filaments and microtubules.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / immunology
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / physiology*
  • Antibodies
  • Cell Line
  • Fibroblasts / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filaments / physiology*
  • Kinesin
  • Microinjections
  • Microtubule Proteins / immunology
  • Microtubule Proteins / physiology*
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Vimentin


  • Antibodies
  • Microtubule Proteins
  • Vimentin
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Kinesin