14-3-3 targets keratin intermediate filaments to mechanically sensitive cell-cell contacts

Mol Biol Cell. 2020 Apr 15;31(9):930-943. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E18-06-0373. Epub 2020 Feb 19.


Intermediate filament (IF) cytoskeletal networks simultaneously support mechanical integrity and influence signal transduction pathways. Marked remodeling of the keratin IF network accompanies collective cellular morphogenetic movements that occur during early embryonic development in the frog Xenopus laevis. While this reorganization of keratin is initiated by force transduction on cell-cell contacts mediated by C-cadherin, the mechanism by which keratin filament reorganization occurs remains poorly understood. In this work, we demonstrate that 14-3-3 proteins regulate keratin reorganization dynamics in embryonic mesendoderm cells from Xenopus gastrula. 14-3-3 colocalizes with keratin filaments near cell-cell junctions in migrating mesendoderm. Coimmunoprecipitation, mass spectrometry, and bioinformatic analyses indicate 14-3-3 is associated with Keratin 19 (K19) in the whole embryo and, more specifically, mesendoderm tissue. Inhibition of 14-3-3 results in both the decreased exchange of keratin subunits into filaments and blocks keratin filament recruitment toward cell-cell contacts. Synthetically coupling 14-3-3 to K19 through a unique fusion construct conversely induces the localization of this keratin population to the region of cell-cell contacts. Taken together, these findings indicate that 14-3-3 acts on keratin IFs and is involved in their reorganization to sites of cell adhesion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • 14-3-3 Proteins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion*
  • Computational Biology
  • Gastrulation
  • Intermediate Filaments / metabolism*
  • Keratins / metabolism*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Xenopus laevis / metabolism*
  • Xenopus laevis / physiology


  • 14-3-3 Proteins
  • Keratins