Key words. Intermediate filaments; assembly; polymorphism; fibrous proteins; scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) temperature sensitivity.
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract. Intermediate filament (IF) proteins are encoded by a large multigene family and form polymers with a uniform diameter of approximately 10 nm. However, although the cytoplasmic representatives all confirm to a unit-type structural principle leading to the formation of extended coiled coils, it is becoming increasingly clear that subunit arrangements and physical properties vary among the different filaments. Thus, the intricate tissue-specific expression pattern of individual IF proteins (especially, their co-expression with other members of the IF protein family or with IF-associated proteins to form obligatory heteropolymers) points to distinct functions acquired during evolution relevant to cellular homeostasis in various tissues.
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