Intermediate filaments in cell migration and invasion: the unusual suspects

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2015 Feb:32:102-12. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2015 Feb 6.


Cell migration is a multistep process which relies on the coordination of cytoskeletal structures in space and time. While the roles of actin and microtubules have been investigated in great details, the lack of inhibitors and visualizing tools and the large number of proteins forming intermediate filaments (IFs) have delayed the characterization of IF functions during migration. However, a large body of evidence has progressively pointed to changes in IF composition as an important parameter in the regulation of cell migratory properties both during development and tumor invasion. More recent in-depth analyses show that IFs are dynamically reorganized to participate, together with microfilaments and microtubules, to the key steps leading to cell migration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Movement*
  • Cytoskeleton / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / chemistry
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / genetics
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / metabolism
  • Intermediate Filaments / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness*


  • Actins
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins