Rearrangement of the vimentin cytoskeleton during adipose conversion: formation of an intermediate filament cage around lipid globules

Cell. 1987 Apr 10;49(1):131-41. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(87)90763-x.


During adipose conversion of murine 3T3-L1 cells, the arrangement of vimentin intermediate filaments (IFs) changes from an extended fibrillar state to a complex cage formation tightly associated with the forming lipid globules. The fully developed cage complex surrounding the lipid globule consists of a monolayer of groups of regularly spaced vimentin IFs that in turn is closely ensheathed by a special endoplasmic reticulum cisterna. The same IF cage is also seen in other adipocytes in culture and in tissues. The specificity of the association of lipid globules with vimentin IFs during adipose conversion is discussed as a special form of compartmentalization supporting adipogenesis and is taken as an example of a possible IF function in relation to a cell differentiation process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / analysis
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Intermediate Filaments / ultrastructure*
  • Lipids / analysis*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Vimentin / metabolism*


  • Antibodies
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Lipids
  • Vimentin