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Updated: Feb 12 2018

Intermediate Filaments

  • Overview
    • Structure
      • stable polymers
        • unlike microtubules and actin → does not undergo dynamic treadmilling
        • must be degraded via the ubiquitin pathway
          • sends to proteasomes
      • intermediate in size between microfilaments (7 nm) and microtubules (25 nm)
    • Function

      • give strength to the cytoskeleton
      • 5 types
    • TypeFilament nameLocationsStain
      I-IIKeratinEpithelial cellsCytokeratin
      IIIDesminMuscle (smooth, cardiac, and skeletal)Desmin
      PeripherinPeripheral nerve axons -
      VimentinFibroblasts and endotheliumVimentin
      Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)Astrocytes and Schawnn cellsGFAP
      IVNeurofilamentsNeuronsNeurofilament (NF)
      VLaminsNuclear envelope of all cells-
    • Clinical importance
      • alcoholic liver disease
        • ubiquitinated cytokeratin filaments accumulate in hepatocytes
          • eosinophilic inclusions called Mallory bodies
      • Parkinson's disease
        • alpha-synuclein and ubiquitinated neurofilaments accumulate in neurons of substantia nigra
        • eosinophilic inclusions called Lewy bodies
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